Buffalo Soldiers | EW.com


Joaquin Phoenix, Buffalo Soldiers

”A friend of mine asked me if I would even do the film now. And I don’t know if I would.” So says Scott Glenn of this pitch-black, military satire about rogue U.S. soldiers in 1989 Berlin using their base as a front for illegal activities. The movie premiered at the 2001 Toronto Film Festival and sold to Miramax – on Sept. 10. Unsurprisingly, it’s taken a long and bumpy route to theaters since then. A screening at January’s Sundance festival signaled that the film’s thematic underpinnings – that peace is boring and people will find ways to fill that void with conflict – have become no less controversial. ”There were people at the screening who called the film unpatriotic,” recalls Glenn, who plays an unstable sergeant bent on bringing down Joaquin Phoenix’s drug-dealing batallion clerk. ”They called me a redneck. That’s fine. I am. A liberal redneck. When Stravinsky first played ‘The Rite of Spring,’ there was a riot outside the theater. Better to get a reaction.” No problem there: One incensed Sundancer even lobbed a water bottle at the screen.

”I guess she wasn’t bored,” says Australian director Gregor Jordan (whose first major film, ”Two Hands,” starred Heath Ledger). ”That woman somehow represented a movement of ignorant, belligerent people in America and throughout the world. These are people who don’t want truth. They want a myopic, distorted version of the facts. These people are scary.”