The Burial(Prime Video)
Rating: *** ½
Jamie Foxx’s is so soooo brilliant a flamboyant lawyer Willie E Gary in this engrossing legal drama that you would be tempted to overlook the subdued impact of the film’s other lead the underrated Tommy Lee Jones who plays the funeral entrepreneur Jeremiah O’Keefe who hires Gary to get him out of a bogus contract with a business shark.
More than an involving The Burial directed by Maggie Betts(do catch her Novitiate) is actually more a comment on troubled tenebrous racial relations in America where apparently, all men are born equal but some of a particular colour are more equal than others.
No matter how much we talk of progress and change in civilization, the power hierarchy remains in many ways, where it was 60-70 years ago. The film’s agonizing depiction of race relations takes the form of a very dark probing but humorous and non-toxic exploration of the legal system in the US.
Foxx’s flamboyant attorney act is a dead giveaway for an Oscar nomination. But the rest of the cast is no less impressive. The screenplay affords a wide variety of interesting characters consumed by their own definition of greed and its many variations.The actors go a long way in making the David-Goliath battle an irresistible experience for the audience.
The battle lines are very clearly drawn . There is no attempt to bring in ambiguous fillers in the plot.The Good Guys versus Bad Guys alignment makes the conflict a very elementary morality tale. And yet there are unexpected pockets of profound exploration of ethics and morality which crop up in waves of humorous banter between the lawyers of both the parties.
While Jurnee Smollett does a swell job of a thankless role as the Bad Guy’s attorney-in-chief, Alan Ruck as a racially conflicted white lawyer and Mamoudou Athie as a very young black lawyer trying to make his way through various levels of prejudice , are unconditionally exemplary.
The Burial holds no surprises. The conclusion to this morality tale is foregone. This doesn’t prevent our complete investment in this film about crooked investments.