- 1 hr 37 min
Buzzard, the 2014 independent film directed by Joel Potrykus, epitomizes the non-conformist, quirky nature of contemporary genre-bending cinema, filled with dark and surreal comedy. Starring Joshua Burge as Marty, a small-time petty criminal who leads an existence filled with poverty, Buzzard paints a picture of a protagonist who, although repugnant, manages to capture viewers' admiration through their witty one-liners and astute observations. Marty is a disgruntled, bored, and underpaid office worker whose daily grind involves pressing down rubber stamps and piles of paperwork. However, when Marty is tasked with tracking down the company's missing financial assets, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery that takes him on a misadventure through the streets of Detroit's underbelly. Marty, who sports a scrappy beard, unkempt hair, and a tracksuit-attire, is portrayed as a rebel who has trouble keeping his nose clean. He pilfers office supplies, steals from his co-workers, and generally defies all authority figures, including the police. The character's relentless sense of irony makes him a bona fide anti-hero, making Buzzard an engaging movie taking audiences on an unconventional rollercoaster ride. One of the most appealing aspects of Buzzard is its depiction of Detroit's post-recession landscape. The city is seen as a dystopian hellhole, with abandoned factories and foreclosed homes standing as harbingers of the decline of the once-thriving auto industry. Potrykus shot the movie on a shoestring budget, infusing it with a do-it-yourself attitude that adds to the somewhat surreal experience that Buzzard provides viewers. As the film advances, Marty becomes increasingly paranoid, spirals down a rabbit hole of hallucinations, and begins to see enemies behind every corner. His world begins to collapse around him as he becomes embroiled in schemes that are way beyond his control, and a sense of loathing and destruction creeps in. The character's deteriorating mental state is portrayed with authenticity, and viewers are drawn into a darkly comic world where anything goes. Of note, Buzzard plays upon pop culture references and '80s nostalgia, with the film's introduction referencing 1980s video game culture. These references throughout the film can be seen in Marty's love for the game "Ninja Gaiden," with the soundtrack taking inspiration of early '90s dance music. This aspect of Buzzard adds a unique pop-culture layer, which viewers find refreshing. Finally, it's worth mentioning that Buzzard might not be everyone's cup of tea. Some viewers may be put off by the movie's seemingly aimless meandering throughout Detroit's concrete jungle. The film relies heavily on the lead's performance, with the supporting cast playing minor roles, and viewers may find Burge's performance overplayed or cringe-worthy. However, despite this, the film is well worth watching for those who appreciate low-budget, independent cinema with a flavor of dark humor and a radically unconventional approach. In summary, Buzzard is an oddball road movie, filled with gallows humor, strong performances, and a deeply unconventional take on the anti-hero story archetype. Although its off-kilter tone and meandering narrative might not be suitable for everyone, it's a fine example of contemporary indie cinema that rewards those who seek something a little different.