Search Us
Around the Web
« TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL 2017 // A REVIEW OF "HONDROS" | Main | STILL HOOKED ON A FEELING // A FILM REVIEW OF "GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2" »
Tuesday
May092017

TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL 2017 // A REVIEW OF "BUSTER'S MAL HEART"

BY DANIELLE BECKMANN

There’s nothing like a jarring shootout in the woods to perk an audience right up. Sarah Adina Smith’s second feature, BUSTER'S MAL HEART instantaneously grabs us and sets the tone of mystery, danger, and uncertainty—the tone that the film struggles to sustain throughout. We learn that Buster the Mountain Man (Rami Malek) is out roaming the rural hillside again as chaos and crisis abound. Buster breaks into holiday homes in the mountains for shelter, food, and warmth. He then leaves them spotless, save for his signature: a pile of his own feces in a cooking pot on the counter.

Cut to Jonah (also Rami Malek), the cleaned up version of Buster, working painstaking overnight shifts at the local lodge to earn a living wage to support his beautiful daughter and picture-perfect wife. Through this storyline, we see Jonah receive multiple midnight visits from a man with no name (an eerie portrayal by the gangly DJ Qualls) that we eventually learn is a figment of his imagination, leading to Jonah’s ultimate demise.

While working overnights, Jonah becomes obsessed with a conspiracy theory of an alternate reality. As he succumbs to this lifestyle and madness, egged on by the man with no name, we cannot decipher reality from Jonah’s mind. The film leans toward the tone of a psychological thriller where it is revealed that Buster/Jonah is capable of anything, even murder. However, had the film asked me to suspend my disbelief more (by the time we see that Jonah is in fact one man in two bodies) I would have taken the bait. Instead, the film proved to be problematic with its avalanche of information at the climax where all rules went out the window, and we were left to regard a cinematic device that left me confused and disappointed. I was left desiring more.

All in all, the glue of the film is actor Rami Malek. His chilling portrayal of a normal blue-collar family man, and his transition into an unpredictably wild mountain man, is a performance I will not forget.

DANIELLE'S VERDICT: IF YOU HAVE TIME

Written and Directed by Sarah Adina Smith Starring Rami Malek, DJ Qualls, Kate Lyn Sheil, Sukha Belle Potter, Lin Shaye Country: USA

The Tribeca Film Festival, running April 19-30th in New York City, offers an assortment of riches when it comes to films. Documentaries, Feature Films, International Films, TV, VR technology, and more. As stated on their website, "Founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff in 2001, following the attacks on the World Trade Center, Tribeca has evolved from an annual event to spur the economic and cultural revitalization of lower Manhattan to a gathering place for filmmakers, artists, innovators, and the global creative community." The ArtsWire Weekly has been covering the festival since 2013 and this year, Mateo Moreno and Danielle Beckmann will be our voices on from the fest.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>