Buz­zard

Pasatiempo - - PASATIEMPO - — Michael Abatemarco

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

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