American Buffalo - * * 1/2*

Talkative adaptation of David Mamet’s play. Don (Dennis Franz) is the owner of a small time junk/pawn shop. Together with his chatty friend Teach (Dustin Hoffman), he plots a petty crime: to steal a possibly valuable coin collection. Teach is desperate and raring to go. Don, on the other hand, is relatively calm, and wants to move cautiously, even to the point of involving others, such as the young Bobby (Sean Nelson), or a mutual friend, Fletch. Don and Teach bicker and banter throughout the day and night at Don’s store, plotting out what should be done, how it should be done, who should do it and why. But, while they are wrapped up in their discussions, they are unaware that Bobby may have some plans of his own. As with most adaptations of Mamet’s plays, the dialogue is rich, and the vernacular runs deep. Both Hoffman and Franz do admirable jobs of tackling the dialogue and creating unique characters with it. Surprisingly, Franz seems to fit into his role a bit better than Hoffman, who seems to be concentrating a bit too much. The main problem with the film is its isolation. It only has three speaking characters, and one set. And, though director Michael Corrente has filled Don’s shop with all manner of odds and ends, you can’t help but to feel claustrophobic after a while. The film is all talk, and no action, which is, when you think about it, the point…but it never grabs the full attention of the viewer.

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