“Buzzard” follows Marty Jackitansky, a misanthrope and small-time scam artist, as he cheats any system he can while avoiding being caught in the act. The director, Joel Potrykus, makes no attempt to take a moral position on Marty’s scams, instead letting the movie serve as a study of Jackitansky’s character and the minor horrors he inflicts.
The film shares a number of similarities with “Kumiko: The Treasure Hunter,” a 2015 release about a Japanese woman who pursues the insurance money lost at the end of Fargo. Both feature outcasts who don’t fit in with their peers. Both are extremely bored and disinterested with their lives, and are willing to give everything up and sacrifice their comfort in exchange for freedom. And both feature strange, surreal endings that really punctuate their themes.
“Buzzard’s” ending in particular really reshapes how the audience remembers the entirety of the film, and leaves a lot to be interpreted and explained. Needless to say, [spoilers] ahead for “Buzzard.” (more…)
The Overnight is a small Indie drama that follows a married couple (Alex and Emily) which has recently moved to Los Angeles and are looking for new friends. They are invited to another couple’s (Kurt and Charlotte) house for a dinner party, and eagerly accept. As the night progresses, however, it becomes obvious that intentions may not be as innocent as they seem.
The movie plays as a classic “will they/won’t they?” sex comedy, but with very untraditional style and stakes. From the minute that Alex and Emily enter Kurt and Charlotte’s house, the audience is unsettled by strange, unfamiliar sexual tension. The film escalates its uncomfortable comedy throughout its runtime, with many details only revealed in the movie’s final act.
It is really difficult to stick the landing on a film like this. The premise is very promising and ripe for comedy, sure, but how do you fulfill a satisfying arc, let alone an arc for every character? It’s a movie that draws many comparisons to While We’re Young, a movie with an ending I didn’t particularly enjoy. By contrast, the ending of The Overnight is extremely satisfying, and it’s well-worth talking about. [Spoilers] from here on.
“While We’re Young” is a fascinating exploration of the transition from adolescence to adulthood, and what it means to truly “grow up.” I really loved Noah Baumbach’s previous film, “Frances Ha,” and came into this movie with very high expectations. For most of the film, “While We’re Young” was exactly what I was looking for. Aging is a struggle that everyone will face at some point in his or her life, and as a result the situations are extremely relatable and frequently hilarious. Many broad comparisons are made between Gen Xers and Millennials, and it is fascinating to see Baumbach explore concepts like nostalgia versus ironic enjoyment. I highly recommend the film to anyone interested in the premise.
All that being said, I had some strong opinions about the final 30 minutes or so of this film. For me, a film succeeds or fails based largely on its third act. The climax is the screenwriter or director’s best opportunity to really drive home the ultimate message of his/her movie. It is what the audience is left with as they walk out of the theater. The rest of this post is will be talking about the ending in depth, so [spoilers] ahead.