The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai
***/**** Image B Sound B Extras B-
starring Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Ellen Barkin, Jeff Goldblum
screenplay by Earl Mac Rauch
directed by W.D. Richter
by Walter Chaw It isn't so much that The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension (henceforth Adventures) is hard to follow, it's that it's hard to assimilate. Once you're drawn into the deadly serious heart askew of W.D. Richter's film, its Gordian plot begins to unravel, its tangled web unweaves, and it becomes clear that the most disturbing thing about this legendarily convoluted camp masterpiece is that it makes perfect sense. That moment of clarity occurs somewhere in the middle of the fourth viewing, and while I can't necessarily guarantee that the trial is worth it for everyone, it was for me. Adventures reveals itself as a commentary on racism, an exploration of communism in the Reagan era, a surprisingly influential genre piece, and a sly statement on early Eighties excess and malaise. What I'm trying to say is that the film is holding my brain hostage, and I would like it back.