Movie Review: “Buzzard”

2stars1Marty Jackitansky is a paranoid leech who scams everyone from the bank where he works to the frozen pizza company that makes his favorite evening meal.
He lies with every breath he takes, steals without conscience and explodes in outrage whenever he himself is hustled.
And when he’s outraged, he’s violent — a nerdy, lashing-out that you might expect from a comic book/horror movie/death metal addict. His hobby project is a modified video gaming glove controller that he’s added Freddy Krueger finger-knives to.
Think of Marty as an R-rated Napoleon Dynamite — foul-mouthed, irritating, irritable, self-absorbed and clueless. He’s also a bit dangerous, the personification of the bird that gives his filmed story its title — “Buzzard.”
Marty, created by indie filmmaker Joel Potrykus and his muse, actor Joshua Burge, is a riveting train-wreck of a character, fascinating to watch as he works one low-rent hustle after another, closing his bank account so he can then re-open it and collect a $50 new account reward that comes with it.
“C’mon,” the hapless, unseen bank officer complains to him, “this is a waste of my time.”
“Not mine,” Marty says with a bug-eyed vulture’s grin.
He’s afraid to use the office PC (surveillance) and pilfers office supplies that he then returns to the store for cash.
He brazenly wonders how to sign over customers’ refund checks to himself to nerdy cubicle clone Derek (played by writer-director Potrykus).
“What do you care? We work in a bank. And we’re TEMPS.”
But that’s a line he crosses, and being paranoid, this buzzard takes flight — paying for bus tickets and hotel rooms with cash, copying hotel room keys so he can sneak back in after checking out, every low-rent scam in the book.
Potrykus (“Coyote” and “Ape” were his two earlier film festival people-as-animals movies) manages moments of wit, such the game “party” boy Derek (yeah, right) invented that involves having Bugles snacks fed to him on the conveyor belt of his exercise treadmill.
Mostly, though, his camera and his energies are focused on Burge who wears a feral, furtive malevolence in every frame. His Marty is scary not because he’s physically imposing. He might not have the guts to actually hurt you. But you just know he’d sure like to pick over your carcass.

MPAA Rating: unrated, profanity, fisticuffs, blood

Cast: Joshua Burge, Joel Potrykus
Credits: Written and directed by Joel Potrykus. An Oscilloscope Laboratories release.

Running time: 1:37

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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