Buzzard , not rated, black comedy/drama, Center for Contemporary Arts, 2.5 chiles
Marty Jackitansky (Joshua Burge) is a temp at the same small-town bank where he has a checking account. At the end of a mandatory six-month waiting period, he closes his account and immediately opens a new one so he can take advantage of the $50 rebate. Marty is scamming the system — and he admits as much to the branch manager, who reluctantly lets him do it only because, as Marty explains, there are no policies against it. Marty might seem shrewd, if a bit off, at the start of Joel Potrykus’ acerbic comedy, but he unwisely risks much for little gain. He sees through the pretensions and conformity of the people around him, has disdain for the corporate environment they work in, and rebels in his small ways, purchasing office supplies on the bank’s dime and then returning them, unused, for refunds. When he’s given the task of tracking down current addresses for a small stack of undelivered checks, he signs them over to himself instead, then is baffled by the suspicion he raises when he tries to cash all of them at once.
Marty is a slacker at work, where he takes three-hour lunch breaks, and a geek at home. Obsessed with horror films, he retrofits a Nintendo Power Glove with sharpened steel blades to resemble the glove that A Nightmare
on Elm Street ’s Freddy Krueger uses to kill people. He keeps a poster of Freddy on his wall — perhaps as homage, but perhaps as inspiration. He calls his mother and tells her comforting lies about how well he’s getting on, mentioning all the friends he’s making. These falsehoods seem harmless enough at first, but they’re later revealed to be part of his pathology. It turns out that Marty, who has no friends or ambition, floats from job to job.
Underscoring this character study is commentary on the uncertain fate of the working class, toiling for a corporate environment that nickels-anddimes it to death. Through his scams, Marty isn’t really trying to subvert that system so much as navigate it in the only way that makes sense to him, following the twists and turns of his own demented logic. An abstract figure whose shifting identity comes from a series of bank-account numbers and a picture ID bearing a name that could be either Polish or Russian (”White Russian,” he claims), Marty may or may not suffer from delusions. It’s never quite clear if the character is merely eccentric or outright insane.
When a stranger asks him what he does for a living, he answers “night stocker,” indicating that he works in a grocery store — but we, and the stranger, hear “night stalker” and become uncomfortable. Marty’s sociopathic disregard for others renders him unsympathetic. His glove might be appropriate at Comic-Con, but it certainly doesn’t belong on the streets of Detroit. Though Burge deadpans an effective portrayal of Marty, Buzzard ultimately frustrates with its refusal to provide insight into what really makes its main character tick.
What’s the frequency, Marty? Joshua Burge