Saturday, February 28, 2015

Joyless Rebellion

Buzzard (2014) - Potrykus
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BAMcinématek at the BAM Rose Cinemas will present a special advance screening of Joel Potrykus' Buzzard on March 4th, followed by a Q&A with the director and screenings of his previous two films, Coyote and Ape. Please visit BAM website for tickets.
Joel Potrykus reconfirms his reputation as a 'real deal' in American indie scene with searingly funny and original Buzzard, the conclusion of his animal trilogy after Coyote and Ape, again, starring his muse, the incomparable Joshua Burge, as an angry social miscreant.

Enter the world of Marty Jackitansky (Burge) - a $9.50/hr indefinite temp at a mortgage company in Grand Rapids, MI. When he's not procrastinating at being an office drone, his life at home consists of TV dinners, corn chips, mountain dew, heavy metal music, video games and horror movies. He subsists his living by precariously screwing the system in small ways - ordering unnecessary office supplies at the job and returning them for cash, calling complaint hotline off of the frozen pizza boxes for more free food or coupons and cashing in undeliverable checks.

Welcome to the unglamorous life of the 99 percent in America. Comparing Buzzard to Office Space would be too easy, but from this angle, Buzzard is more like no budget, fantasy/political subtext free Fight Club. There is no joy or rebellious spirit in Marty's actions. No internal grandiose rhetoric. Deeply contemptuous of all people, he is just a class-A asshole and possesses no redeeming quality whatsoever. And there is danger in his unusually large bug eyes- he is building a Freddy Kruger style slasher out of his nintendo glove with real blades sticking out.

After cashing in the company's undeliverable checks, Marty's paranoia sets in. He abandons his messy apartment for fear of swat team kicking in the door any minute. So he crashes at his total tool-of-the-system co-worker Derek (played adroitly by director Potrykus)'s coveted 'party-zone' A.K.A. the basement of his disabled dad's house. Derek is as much of a man-child as Marty: they argue, goof around (Jedi Knight vs Freddy), play video games and eat hot pockets and corn chips together. But things get sour after Marty finds out that Derek unwittingly might have ratted him out. After physically hurting Derek, Marty runs away to Detroit with $200 from the checks he cashed in his pocket.

Joshua Burge's unfiltered portrayal of a ne'er-do-well is funny and chilling at the same time. With his unusual mug, Burge stands out no matter where he goes, against the film's 'normal people' who possess no distinctive characteristics. It's pretty brilliant that Marty's choice of place to escape his ugly reality is none other than Detroit, not quite the promised land where one would want to escape to. The uncut, 20 dollar plate of spaghetti sequence in a luxurious hotel room is a legend in the making. In one minute Marty feels happy running down the underpopulated streets of Detroit thinking that he got off scot-free from his petty crimes, then the next he finds himself still trapped in the miserable thing called reality.

Raw and ugly, yet mesmerizing, Buzzard is a one of a kind film that you can't shake off easily. As the country's economical climate recycles the past, Buzzard shares the dispirited spirit of the slackers of the Generation X of the 90s.

opens nationwide on March 6th.