The Burial movie review & film summary (2023)

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The Burial movie review

The Burial movie review :

It’s simple to forget that sometimes the safest and finest pleasure comes from straightforward comfort food after watching hundreds of movies annually. When flashy personal injury attorney Willie E. Gary (Jamie Foxx) travels to Mississippi to represent the mild-mannered Jeremiah O’Keefe (Tommy Lee Jones) against a multibillion dollar corporation, “The Burial,” directed by Maggie Betts, a throwback ’90s inspirational courtroom drama pitched to extreme comedy, comes as simple and sweet as a summer Southern breeze.

The characters in “The Burial” are underdeveloped, the rivalry is awkwardly presented, and the resolution is unsatisfying. Nevertheless, Betts’ rousing tale of odd acquaintances who become partners is definitely enjoyable. Dramatically, it starts a few months earlier when Jeremiah, who owns multiple funeral homes and a burial insurance company, travels to Vancouver, British Columbia, with his trusted attorney Mike Allred (Alan Ruck), in order to sell three funeral houses to CEO Ray Loewen (Bill Camp).On Lowen’s yacht, a settlement was reached, but after four months, Lowen has yet to sign the agreement. The only one with suspicion is the young Hal (Mamoudou Athie), a recently minted lawyer and family friend. He believes Loewen is waiting for Jeremiah in the hopes that the taciturn American’s firm will fail, making the entire chain of funeral homes a bargain to be had. Jeremiah is persuaded to file a lawsuit by Hal, and to do so in the largely Black Hinds County. Willie E. Gary now steps forward.

Only the white character actually feels redeemed and compensated by the time the credits roll in most mixed-race “We Must Overcome” movies like “Green Book,” “The Help,” and “The Blind Side,” which fall short by attempting to address the lengthy history of racial injustices within the confines of a corny feel-good tale. However, “The Burial” doesn’t think that in its 126-minute running length, it can eliminate racism, injustice, and small-scale offenses. Additionally, it is not intended to absolve Jeremiah of his sins. Instead, Foxx plays the starring role of Willie in one of his funniest, most energetic, and greatest recent performances (though “They Cloned Tyrone” is also a 2023 high point for him).

The only fully developed character is Willie, who genuinely wants to be taken seriously (and make excellent money). Apart from his business, his huge family (he has 13 children), and his wife (Pamela Reed), Jeremiah is primarily functional; we learn little else about him outside his restrained nature (a quiet vim Jones can play in his sleep and always extremely well). We never even see his children. The same may be stated for Jeremiah’s attorneys Hal and Mike as well as Willie’s wife Gloria (Amanda Warren).

Similar observations are made about Mame Downes (Jurnee Smollett), a renowned lawyer Loewen recruits when he learns he needs Black attorneys to succeed in a Black county (we never really go back to how dubious it was when Hal secretly reached out to Willie using the same strategy). Awkward, charged discussion between Mame and Willie, which results in their being friendly rivals, leads to shrewd courtroom strategies and shrewd acting choices by Smollett’s character as she negotiates the challenges of defending a miserable white guy.

Although “The Burial” isn’t actually about race, it is unavoidably present in the story, and it takes place during the O.J. Simpson trial (Willie frequently dreams of going up against Johnnie Cochran). A measured Mamoudou plays Hal as he deals with microaggressions, and the National Baptist Convention turns out to be the key to the case, adding additional emotion, frustration, and agony to the movie. This highlights the horrific racial history of the South.

The Black humor of “The Burial” is also very cultural. Willie is a comical character by nature since he is garish, overconfident, and humble. Foxx does a fantastic job with each of those roles without making Willie become a clown. Additionally, he like Willie’s meter-driven, melodically symbolic speech (the confrontation between Foxx and Camp at the movie’s finale is a superb example of the actor’s play with layered meaning). The lavish costumes created by Mirren Gordon-Crozier and the hilarious timing of Doug Wright and Betts’ screenplay combine to provide additional sight gags, such as Willie and his wife’s appearance on “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” while dressed in velvet pajamas and the lines of Willie’s pricey suits.

Foxx’s heart and soul are what keep this archetypal David versus. Goliath movie humming. Even when the courtroom scenes follow extremely predictable visual patterns, Foxx injects tension, humor, and a sense of formality, turning “The Burial” from an unremarkable comedy with low rewatch value to a poignant, unique comedy.

From the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival, this review was submitted. On October 6, “The Burial” will have a limited theatrical release. On October 13, it will be made available on Prime Video.

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