It’s not uncommon for a courtroom drama to be one of the best films of the year. We’ve seen this happen time and time again with everything from My Cousin Vinny to Philadelphia to A Few Good Men. Amazon Prime Video’s latest release, The Burial, could potentially be in the running for one of the best films of the year.
There isn’t a ton of competition this year, and we’ve seen films from streaming services looked over countless times in the past, but The Burial has everything it needs to be a prime contender for the upcoming awards season. Jamie Foxx disappears into Willie E. Gary, one of the most respected lawyers in America, with Tommy Lee Jones at the top of his game as Gary’s client, Jeremiah O’Keefe. Based on a true story, the film follows O’Keefe’s lawsuit against Raymond Loewen, owner of the Loewen Group.
If Foxx and Jones weren’t enough, the ensemble cast is rounded out by Jurnee Smollett, Alan Ruck, Mamoudou Athie, and more. While many of these actors have already been seen in DC films, Jurassic World Dominion, and Succession, they each bring their A game to the court proceedings of The Burial. These supporting roles give the film the perfect balance between the exuberant Willie E. Gary, and the emotional backbone of the lawsuit.
The Burial is primarily targeted at African American moviegoers, but there’s enough here to appeal to film lovers of any ethnicity. Foxx’s over the top, and occasionally emotional performance is enough to garner laughs and potentially even tears from any auditorium. There is an undertone of racism which would normally be a bit out of touch in 1995 when the lawsuit was filed, but given the fact that it takes place in Mississippi, it’s not far off from reality.
What would normally be billed as a legal comedy is actually quite dramatic and emotional at its core. There’s plenty to laugh at and enjoy in The Burial, but where the film shines is in how the performances and the writing touch the audience in a way that makes them care about the proceedings. By the end of the film you’ll actually want to know how the jury is going to vote, what the eventual verdict will be, and how it will impact these people.
The Burial isn’t a film that requires a theatrical presentation, which makes it a fitting addition to the growing Amazon Prime Video library. However, it is a film that should be enjoyed with others. Being able to discuss the case, laugh together, and go on the emotional ride that is this lawsuit, is something that greatly adds to the experience of the film.
There are some minor pacing issues throughout The Burial, but overall this is one of the better courtroom dramas. If you have time and an Amazon Prime Video subscription, The Burial is definitely worth two hours of your time on a Saturday night or Sunday afternoon.
About The Burial
Synopsis: Inspired by true events, a lawyer helps a funeral home owner save his family business from a corporate behemoth, exposing a complex web of race, power, and injustice.
Director: Maggie Betts
Writers: Doug Wright, Maggie Betts
Stars: Jamie Foxx, Tommy Lee Jones, Jurnee Smollett, Alan Ruck, Mamoudou Athie
Runtime: 2 Hours, 6 Minutes
Bryan Dawson has been writing professionally since the age of 13. He started his career as a video game writer and has since worked for Random House, Prima Games, DirecTV, IGN, AOL, the British Government, and various other organizations. For GNN, Bryan taps into his passion for movies.