Viennale 2014 – Day 5: Buzzard

USA 2014
Written by Joel Potrykus
Directed by Joel Potrykus

“Buzzard” is the last movie of Joel Potrykus’ so-called “animal-trilogy”. I hadn’t seen the other two yet – and probably never will. Nor do I plan on seeing any other movie by him, ever. Because I found “Buzzard” to be downright terrible. It was the second worst movie that I’ve seen all year at the cinema, and the one where I came closest to simply get up and leave (something that I’ve never ever done in my entire life – yet). Which also is an accomplishment in a way, I guess.

It actually starts off ok, with Marty’s little scams to make some money, and the way he tries to find and exploit the flaws in the system; even though I already called bullshit on his first scam (where he closes a savings account and immediately opens a new one at the same bank, in order to get the $100 they’re offering for new savings accounts; usually when you got an offer like that it always states that it’s for new customers only, and doesn’t apply when you had an account with them in the last year or so.), and pretty much already knew where this was going as soon as he sat down to close his account, thus I didn’t find that revelation particularly funny. Still, that and the totally stupid bank clerk a couple of scenes later that even gives him advice on how to cash in checks that he’s written over to himself were quite amusing. Other than that, “Buzzard” was an exercise in annoyance and boredom.

It starts to go off the rails with his check-scam (as funny as I might have found the totally oblivious bank clerk). Before that, he seemed at least somewhat smart. But here… why isn’t he going into different bank stores to cash in the checks, in order to not make it that obvious? Also, as soon as he moves in with his colleague because he thinks that the cops are after him, the movie gets sooooooooo boring. I’m sorry, but I just don’t find it particularly interesting to watch two guys acting goofy and stupid for what feels like half an hour. By far the worst scene, however – and the one that almost had me walk out of the movie – was the infamous spaghetti-take (that even has its own trivia-entry on the IMDB), that simply goes on forever, and is absolutely, completely and utterly pointless. I could feel every precious second from my finite life wasting away during that scene, which went on for at least 5 minutes (even though it feels even longer than that).

After that I was so annoyed with this movie that I couldn’t even appreciate the scene with the bank store manager who calls in the cop, the application of his self-made Freddy Krueger-glove, or the nice and clever last scene with the television sets. I just wished for the movie to be finally over. There’s actually a fade to black after he went to the cinema and for two seconds I hoped that this was finally it and that I was free again at last, but then the movie went on for another couple of minutes. Maybe your mileage will vary, I don’t know. But I found “Buzzard” to be an utterly terrible, boring, annoying and pointless waste of time (there’s your review quote for the poster, Oscilloscope Pictures!)

Update (Nov. 16th): Joel Potrykus was gracious enough to reply to my review via e-mail (which made me feel a little shitty for pissing on his movie so much; but what can you do? Ultimately, it’s simply my opinion, and I don’t assume it to be the be-all and end-all of it), pointing out two misconceptions. Here’s the direct quote:

I worked as a bank teller for two years. I overheard many other tellers giving the advice of simply depositing a check into the ATM to get the cash immediately. Also, you do not have to be a new customer to qualify for a checking account promotion. We dealt with this several times, and it is something I’ve done three times. It totally works.

Now, to clarify: I had no problem with the bank clerk giving him the advice, and I can’t remember if she did so before or after he started pulling out even more checks. However, one would assume that as soon as someone does that, all alarm bells would go off (as they did later with the clerk at the other bank). I’m totally baffled about the checking account promotion, though; I can’t see something like that ever working in Austria (where you would definitely find some fine print that would prevent you from doing exactly that). However, I stand corrected, so that’s one critisicm that I readily take back.


This entry was posted in cinema 2014, movie reviews, Viennale and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Viennale 2014 – Day 5: Buzzard

  1. Pingback: Buzzard (2014) | kalafudra's Stuff

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