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"Buzzard": Darkness Surrounds a Small-Time Scam Artist 

Wednesday, Mar 4 2015
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Joel Potrykus' Buzzard is a wrist-slashingly dark comedy. Marty (Joshua Burge, in what once would have been the Steve Buscemi role) is a greasy-haired horror aficionado who makes most of his living running scams, including at the bank where he works as a temp alongside his sorta-kinda best friend Derek (director Potrykus, taking Jackass-levels of physical abuse). Marty's pastimes include eating junk food and attempting to build a functional Freddy Krueger glove; when one scam in particular goes south, he takes his middle-class rage to the city streets. For as deeply saturated as Buzzard is in 1980s culture — the original Nintendo Entertainment System is the gaming console of choice, CDs are still a way people share music, and the only signifier that it takes place post-Y2K is a poster for The Matrix Reloaded in the background — its real spiritual ancestor is Martin Scorsese's classic of 1970s alienation, Taxi Driver. Potrykus makes this clear in a shot which directly homages one of that film's most iconic images, of Travis sitting in a porno theater, clearly fantasizing about doing great harm to the people on the screen. Lacking a third act, Buzzard is less of a complete story than a slow-motion car crash, but then again, there are few things more fascinating than car crashes.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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