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Askew Review 15

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BUFFALO BOY (First Run Features) 98 minutes. Drama. In Vietnamese with English subtitles. Not rated. Growing up in Vietnam in the 1940s, a teenage boy, Kim, must take over for his ill father and save his family’s two starving buffalo during the flood season. With the two buffalo in tow, Kim leaves his family and hooks up with a clan of buffalo herders who are hired to bring buffalo to food in order to save them from starvation. Trudging through neck high water and fighting off rival buffalo herders, Kim, quickly grows up and learns the trade. Seeing the money the herders are making, but not agreeing with the high level of scumminess, Kim decides to start his own buffalo business. It is during these times that our hero learns a whole lot about himself, his past, and is forced to accept more responsibility than he ever dreamed. 
   For a movie whose tempo is pretty mild, the intensity is very high from start to finish. Since most of the movie takes place on the flooded plains of Vietnam, the production must have been tough and I bet the cast and crew put up with a lot of crap during the shoot. The landscape shots and scenery is stunningly hypnotic, but I have to wonder how the hell people actually lived like that back in the day (perhaps they still do in some parts). The way the story opens and closes is a tad creepy, but it’s a great vehicle to get the movie going. Everything about Buffalo Boy is top notch and if you dig foreign movies, I highly recommend it. – Denis Sheehan

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