There aren’t many movies like Buzzard. This film takes chances, daring the audience to turn it off at times, and features one of the more angry antiheroes that I’ve seen in a movie since Observe and Report. Also taking some visual and thematic cues from Taxi Driver, Joel Potrykus’ movie feels dangerous by design, showcasing 20-something angst in a very visceral fashion. Joshua Burge gives nothing less than a tour de force performance, really going for broke in the final act, but because his character is so relentlessly sullen and more than likely psychotic, it creates this great dichotomy for the viewer: You’re forced to get to know someone who you might not otherwise want to get to know. Burge plays an office temp who is so apathetic towards his own existence that he can barely get through the day without some sort of mental rage flip out. He fills his time by ordering office supplies to his temp jobs, then stealing the supplies to sell back to pawn shops. Then there’s his favorite — close a checking account only to immediately open a new one to make the promotional $50. Things get out of control when an illegal check cashing spree goes upside down, with Burge seeking refuge in the basement of his friend’s house with increasing amounts of paranoia seeping in.
And then there’s that old Nintendo Power Glove that he’s been retrofitting into a Freddy Krueger-esque hand weapon. Where this wild narrative goes is for you to discover, but I will allow that very little of anything expected happens during the course of the 90 minutes. There are some shades of societal anger that reminded me of Joel Schumacher’s Falling Down and the film’s anarchic spirit recalls some passages from David Fincher’s Fight Club. But Buzzard isn’t on a level that’s as grandiose as those films, and the film’s low budget and general rough and tumble aesthetic really helps to magnify every single aspect of this crazy little movie that had snuck totally under my radar. Potrykus also appears as Burge’s pseudo-friend; their various interactions are absolutely hysterical. Buzzard made its premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in 2014, before receiving a very small theatrical release in early 2015. Available to stream via ITunes, YouTube and Amazon, while Netflix carries the DVD for disc-in-the-mail subscribers. Dark comedies don’t get much more dark than this one.
Review by Nick Clement