Thursday, 11 June 2015

'Buzzard' review.

I review Joel Potrykus's indie flick in which an average Joe gets pushed to the brink of his wits.... hit the jump for more.

Buzzard is a really interesting film. As in, a really damn interesting film. In it, we meet the kind of  antihero that we just love to hate: 'Marty Jackitansky' is, for all intents and purposes, a slob. He cheats the system continuously (in one of the films finest scenes, we witness one such petty scam as he cons the company he works for - much to the disbelief of staff); he's violent and lazy; and he epitomizes what we all fear that we, ourselves, may become.Yet, at times, we feel the need to sympathize with him. After all, his life is shit - he works in a bland, nondescript bank office; he lives in a cramped, overpriced apartment; he has no friends. So we have an interesting conundrum on our hands....

'Mad Marty: Fury Road(side) station'
However, Marty goes just one step too far whilst locating addresses to mail petty tax over-payment cheques. Naturally, the recipients of his contact believe he is cold calling, so don't accept them. He learns from his mother that it would be possible to sign these cheques out to himself, so, carelessly, he does. Enter paranoia. Marty's brain (already frazzled by copious heavy metal and video game rage episodes) begins to crumble as his fear of being caught escalates, leading to perhaps one of my favorite metaphors of all time in cinema. Marty takes his Nintendo Power-Glove - a toy with so much potential; something so innocent, but also fundamentally useless (just like Marty himself) and attaches Kreuger - like blades to the fingertips. You see, Marty had all the built up anger inside him, but now he can unleash it. He is now primed and dangerous.

Potrykus marks this with a dramatic increase on the surrealism factor: we frequently see Marty wearing demonic masks in a cinema theater - soaking up violence and horror. We also witness him pumping himself up with heavy metal, but, alas, it becomes too much. After an unusual - and hilarious - stay at his co-workers apartment, Marty travels naively to Detroit with nothing but his cheques and his power glove. After all, what else does he have?

Devil in disguise
What we witness there is a cinematic marvel; a comment and an assault on capitalism; a vicious attack on all those 'Marty's' out there. We begin to pity him, then we loathe him. We witness his insecurities, his petty concerns and his nonexistent hopes or dreams. As humans, we spit upon a lack of ambition, we hate slackers. We truly HATE Marty, this is our nature. But we fear him too, because we see ourselves, to an extent, in him. This hate is epitomized by a scene in which Marty experiences his view of luxury - staying at a cheap chain hotel and eating pasta room service. The resulting image is disgusting, horrifying and hilarious at the same time. But what about the much prophecised weapon? Indeed, the power glove does have it's day, but we're kept waiting. The realism of the whole affair makes it feel so damn dangerous - hell, Marty could explode at any time.

Potrykus also demonstrates his love for cinema through a delirious range of references. Posters for many great horror features adorn the walls of Marty's house - including, of course, 'Nightmare on Elm Street'. And, perhaps I'm gazing too far into the abyss, but 'Marty Jackitansky' is very similar to 'Max Rockitansky' - the protagonist of the 'Mad Max' movies. This would make sense. They both live in an alien, isolated world with it's own rules and regulations. They both try to fight the system. They both, to some extent, succeed. They both, to some extent, fail. Neither retains their humanity. The clerk in Marty's local petrol station is a character right out of Kevin Smith's masterpiece (so let's just say things don't go too well).  Among other references, Marty continuously wears a 'demons' t - shirt, and he stays at 'the last room on the left'. Purely brilliant stuff indeed.

One of those nights...
The soundtrack and acting aint to bad either. Joshua Burge does a great job of portraying such a layered and unique character in what is, essentially, a character study. His colleagues are frequently hilarious, and the more surreal conversations are only allowed to reach such a fever pitch because they are done so damn well.... the soundtrack is mostly quiet with only diegetic sound, but when the trend is broken, 'Buzzard' roars like a lion: heavy metal is blasted at in-proportionate levels to the rest of the sound. It's deafening and really shows Marty's anger at the system, and, I believe, himself.

All in all, Buzzard isn't an entirely complete or perfect experience, but it sure is brilliant. What it brings to the table, it does in style, and a fantastic tension pervades the whole affair... Amazing leads and a disturbing story anchor this surreal flick, and make it one of the most memorable of the year so far.
'Buzzard' gets 4 stars!

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