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TIFF 2023: “The Burial”


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Big corporations always aim to take down the small ones. While the rich get richer, smaller businesses scramble to survive. Therefore, the stronger often prevails over the one that never has enough money to fight back. But what happens if someone rises and says, ‘enough!’ Will that declaration help resolve the dispute or escalate it further?

Jeremiah O’Keefe (Tommy Lee Jones) has just turned 75. He enjoys his life with thirteen children and many grandchildren. He continues the legacy of the previous generation and hopes to pass the same stability to the next one. Drowning in debt, he is forced to sell parts of his business to the Loewen Group, a 3 billion-dollar corporation that acquires all the small funeral homes. However, when a dispute arises over a contract signed by both parties, O’Keefe is left with no choice but to hire the personal injury lawyer Willie E. Gary (Jamie Foxx), who hasn’t lost a case in 12 years but lacks extensive knowledge in contracts. Nevertheless, the two build an excellent team that turns their efforts into a nail-biting court drama worth remembering.

With a screenplay by Maggie Betts and Doug Wright and directed by Maggie Betts herself, “The Burial” immerses the audience in a real-life drama unfolding in a courtroom. As close to reality as it could get, it portrays the true image of lawyers doing their best to defend their clients. Jamie Foxx delivers a multifaceted performance with the dark tone of a lawyer who can be as serious as needed or as funny and dramatic as the situation requires. His unique approach in the courtroom allows him to connect with jurors as he tries to explain his client’s position to defeat the multibillion-dollar corporation.

That being said, “The Burial” is an excellent drama with elements of comedy. It entertains the audience from start to finish, with flawless writing and direction. We all know the taste of injustice, but not everyone is willing to fight it. Lack of finances is part of the problem, but with the right will and determination, even Goliath can be defeated, as exemplified in “The Burial.”

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