The Burial isn’t just a film about corporate greed but about the power of faith and friendship. Here’s Kevin Bourne’s The Burial film review.
Directed by Maggie Betts and written by Betts, Doug Wright and Jonathan Harr, The Burial tells the true story of small town funeral director Jeremiah O’Keefe (Tommy Lee Jones) and his fight to save his family-run funeral home business. When a deal with a large corporation is in dispute, O’Keefe enlists the help of an unlikely ally in the flashy and smooth talking personal injury lawyer Willie E. Gary (Jamie Foxx) with his 12-year undefeated streak in the courtroom and a knack for getting multimillion dollar payouts for his clients. In the process, O’Keefe and Gary build a close friendship that defies race and geography.
While the story, inspired by a New Yorker article by Jonathan Harr, centers around the multibillion-dollar death-care industry, which at times exploits people during one of the toughest moments of their lives, the film is really a David and Goliath story about the power of faith and friendship, and finding it in the unlikeliest of places.
Oscar winners Jones and Foxx, who are as an unlikely duo as their onscreen characters, create their share of comedic moments as O’Keefe learns to enjoy Black music. But they also create heartfelt, feel good moments as Gary goes from being about the money to caring about Jeremiah (aka Jerry) on a personal level.
Sharing the screen with Oscar winners Tommy Lee Jones and Jamie Foxx was an equally impressive supporting cast, including Jurnee Smollett, who played no-non sense defence lawyer and Gary’s equal, Mame Downes; Mamoudou Athie who played the still green yet clever upstart lawyer, Hal Dockins; and Bill Camp, who is very believable in his portrayal of the greedy Canadian billionaire, Ray Loewen.
Now, the other star of the show is the soundtrack which includes almost had the full range of Black music, everything from Tony! Toni! Toné! to Gospel music. With the story set in the 90’s get ready to take a trip down memory lane.
Overall, The Burial has everything going for it, from a healthy dose of drama and humor, to an inspirational message about the power of friendship and overcoming the odds and doing the the impossible.
SHIFTER editor and Senior Entertainment Reporter, Kevin Bourne, is a Toronto-based entertainment journalist focusing on Black music and film & TV. He was named one of 310 international voters for the 81st Golden Globe Awards by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and a Tomatometer-Approved Critic by Rotten Tomatoes.