Buffalo Soldiers

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Released 2004

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Movie Summary

Director:
Gregor Jordan
Released:
2004
Rating:
R

Buffalo Soldiers is set in Stuttgart, West Germany, in 1989, just before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Ray Elwood (Joaquin Phoenix) is an amiable miscreant and a United States soldier stationed at the Theodore Roosevelt Army Base. His job is as battalion secretary to the bumbling Colonel Berman (Ed Harris), but Elwood really makes his money as a dealer on the black-market. He has a hand in everything, from selling stolen cleaning supplies to manufacturing heroin deals for the head of the military police, Sergeant Saad (Sheik Mahmud-Bey). When Saad is relieved of his duties, Ray's wheelings and dealings in the underground scene just got a whole lot more difficult. The tough new officer, Sergeant Lee (Scott Glenn), vows to clean up the base, and plans to start with Elwood. The situation becomes more complicated when Elwood and Sergeant Lee's daughter, Robyn (Anna Paquin), develop a connection. Can Ray avoid getting busted by the new sergeant and make a move on Robyn?

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Metacritic Score

  • 50

    Variety Todd McCarthy

    Had the young Jack Nicholson played such a character during the height of the Vietnam War, it would have been easy to go along for the ride. But skilled as Phoenix is at pulling of...

  • 40

    The New York Times Dana Stevens

    Sloppy when it should be incisive, indulgent when it should be astringent, and ultimately unsure of what it is mocking and in what spirit.

  • 30

    Los Angeles Times Manohla Dargis

    Even Phoenix, an actor who can make an incestuous-minded Roman emperor seem sensitive, can't smooth over political nihilism this unsavory.

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    Themes

    Military & War, Dark Comedy, Crime