Posted by Joel Copling on March 17, 2015

"Buzzard" is a mad burst of antagonism toward its audience, saying a lot about its deranged loser of an antihero and perhaps a bit more about the helpless and sometimes hapless victims in his path. This guy is a piece of work. His name is Marty Jackitansky (Joshua Burge), and he is the kind of guy who expects to get away with the most suspicious behavior of which one can think, and he will get violent if you don't let him do his thing. He isn't exactly a grouch, but he's definitely not a pleasant person to be around. He treats the one guy who gives him the time of day, Derek (Joel Potrykus, who also wrote and directed the picture), like the lowest example of vermin on the street, and no one else in the world even gets the distinction of giving him the time of day. He doesn't need friends.

He certainly doesn't like his job and makes that clear in the film's gloriously uncomfortable opening sequence, which finds him cheating the system set up by his own, temporary employer, First Federal Bank. He speaks to the teller about closing his bank account and reopening another one with the money from the first--and on the very six-month anniversary of opening the first, which is technically within the purview of the bank's rules, right? In another scene, his boss Carol (Teri Ann Nelson) sets him the task of mailing off checks to clients, so instead he cashes them himself under the relatively believable pretense that they were signed over to them (Speaking as a cashier myself, this, while certainly against the law, is a believable trickster method).

The apex of his deception doesn't come until the victim is a small, privately owned hotel whose clerk (Camille Vanderweide in a solid cameo as a good man) he wheedles into giving him the slightly more expensive styled room. He makes a copy of the key like the scumbag he is and goes back after his night of sleep is over, threatening the clerk and his maid with a hand-crafted Freddy Krueger glove that he's crafted from a Nintendo Power Glove. This is a terrible person in whom we only have a vested interest to see him get his due process, but Potrykus has different ideas in mind. He's more interested in the type of guy who gets himself out of these situations via crumbling institutions with the weakest foundation.

Just watch as he finds thinly suitable excuses for cashing the checks illegally, which comes back to haunt him in ways that vary in levels of physical violence. Burge is excellent at being entirely unclassifiable as a human--impossible to dismiss and equally impossible to care about. Then again, I'm not entirely sure we're supposed to care about this pitiful individual when, in a scene that goes on for nearly five minutes in a single, unforgiving cut, he takes advantage of a hotel's complimentary meal to eat spaghetti so unceremoniously that it spills over onto the bathrobe provided to him by the staff. "Buzzard" is equally unforgiving in its examination of the worst kind of person, and for that it must be commended.

Film Information

Joshua Burge (Marty Jackitansky), Joel Potrykus (Derek), Teri Ann Nelson (Carol), Jason Roth (Kubiak), Joe Anderson (Craig Kowalczyk), Alan Longstreet (Gas Station Clerk), Camille Vanderweide (Hotel Clerk).

Directed and written by Joel Potrykus.

No MPAA rating.

97 minutes.

Released in select cities on March 6, 2015.