Take a Drink: for every scheme Marty runs
Take a Drink: every time he slacks off at work
Take a Drink: for the glove
Take a Drink: for every Freddy Krueger poster you see
Take a Drink: for metal music
Do a Shot: “Fuck Taco Bell!”
Do a Shot: for Bugles
By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
There are tons of low-budget indie filmmakers out there in practically every genre doing some damned interesting things, but “indie” almost has a different connotation these days. It seems that the punk attitude, the garrulousness, and just plain weirdness of an Alex Cox or even a young Kevin Smith has disappeared.
The guy who made Clerks wouldn’t know what to make of this.
Well… it hasn’t. You just need to know where to look, and a good place to start is Joel Potrykus’s Buzzard. It follows Marty Jackitansky (Joshua Burge), a dim bulb slacker and beyond amateur con man who quickly gets himself over his head with a rinky-dink check cashing scheme. Oh, and he’s building a Freddy Krueger glove, just ’cause.
Buzzard is a bizarre little slice of all-too-familiar low-class Americana, cheap hotels, folks on the wrong side of 30 still posted up in their parents’ basements, temp jobs, and gas station hot pockets. Max has carved out a little niche of low-energy, low-profit schemes and cons. On one hand, we get almost a procedural feel for how to scrape by with zero compunctions and base cunning.
Think Louis Bloom minus any ambition.
On the other, Buzzard is sly comedy somewhere in the neighborhood where Office Space Ave. meets Napoleon Dynamite St. Both Burge and Potrykus himself as his co-worker/childhood frenemy are hilarious, deadpan with a heightened sense of absurdity that just feels more realistic the weirder it gets.
On the third hand…
Siamese twins, that’s how.
…we have a killer character piece with a spectacular central performance from Burge, who has both Steve Buscemi’s easy sleaze and his crazy eyes. Burge has a feel for making them pop with intensity and melt with despair as the situation warrants, and Potrykus keeps the camera on him almost perpetually, as we see the way he processes and reacts to a range of responses and setbacks play out over his face. As he becomes increasingly more desperate, the film itself starts to unravel around him. A wound in his hand festers with an almost Cronenbergian nastiness, his paranoia grows, and not quiite right happenstances start to crowd around him, right up to a beautiful little mindfuck of a ending.
This is certainly a lo-fi production, with some of the accompanying happy to be here performances and DIY touches that are pretty much inevitable. I can’t wait to see what Potrykus can do with an even slightly larger budget, though.
Burge and Potrykus’s Napoleon and Kip dynamic is certainly amusing, if a tad familiar, but they stretch it a bit too far and kind of wear you out on it.
Can’t touch the original article.
Buzzard is a razor-sharp, delightfully and disturbingly strange character piece that would do Alex Cox proud.