Dozens of earnest dramas have looked at people looking on the fringes, but the new film “Buzzard” takes on the subject with a sharp, pitch-black sense of humor. The film stars Joshua Burge as Marty, a metalhead and slacker working at a temp agency. He’s barely scraping by with his lazy work and petty scams, but when he pulls one that’s a little too traceable, he’s force to go on the run and hide out in his friend’s (writer/director Joel Potrykus) basement.
“Buzzard” doesn’t idealize Marty: he’s a misanthrope and creep, capable of terrible things. But the film is still strangely sympathetic to his plight and his wants, which don’t amount to much more than having a place to sleep and something to eat. It gets both the humor that comes out of listlessness and unendurable boredom — Marty and his friend play a game that involves them hurling tennis balls at each others’ heads — and the desperation that comes from having nobody and nothing to turn to.
More thoughts from the Criticwire Network:
Kurt Brokaw, Independent Magazine
Dustin Chang, TwitchFilm
Serena Donadoni, Metro Times
Gabe Toro, The Playlist
More thoughts from the web:
Dan Schindel, Movie Mezzanine
It would almost be a horror movie or a grim social realist drama if it weren’t for the consistent strain of sharp humor running throughout. The movie doesn’t excuse Marty the way so many comedies do their own leads, but nor does it condemn him. Rather, it draws painful recognition from his situation, and wrings it both for laughs and cringes. Read more.
Scott Tobias, The Dissolve
Viewers may find Marty morally vacant or outright sociopathic, but he’s also just a kid trying to get by without any money…Potrykus never gets didactic about the class commentary in “Buzzard,” because Marty’s funny/pathetic scams and simmering psychosis draw the attention away from it. But nothing that happens in the film would be necessary if Marty had two dimes to rub together, and didn’t have to gamble his life away on two-figure second-party checks. Read more.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, The A.V. Club
Shot in itchy long takes at some of the ugliest locations America has to offer, “Buzzard” is outwardly confrontational; it follows its aloof antihero from one awkward situation to another, slowly inching from cringe comedy into psychological rot, and even introducing an element of queasy body horror in the form of a festering cut on Marty’s hand. And yet it’s also sympathetic and sincere—a movie that genuinely feels like it’s trying to wrestle with what it means to feel like a nobody living nowhere special, and to want to be a monster, running through the night, claws out. Read more.