The Burial (2023)

The Burial (2023)

2023 R 126 Minutes

Drama | History

A lawyer helps a funeral home owner save his family business from a corporate behemoth. In a move to bring resonance to a dry case, the lawyer digs up a complex web of race, power, and oppression t...

Overall Rating

6 / 10
Verdict: Good

User Review

  • ScreenZealots


    6 / 10
    There isn’t much to dislike about director Maggie Betts‘ “The Burial,” a solid courtroom drama that hits all the expectations of the genre (and sometimes even exceeds them). Inspired by true events, this rousing David versus Goliath story is well cast, well acted, well told, and is set up to be an all-around crowd pleaser.

    Mississippi funeral home owner Jeremiah O’Keefe (Tommy Lee Jones) has fallen on hard times. The mom-and-pop business has been in his family for generations, and he aims to have something to pass down to his plethora of children and grandchildren. When a deal with the CEO (Bill Camp) of a heartless multibillion dollar “death care industry” corporation goes South, Jeremiah hires the smooth talking, charismatic personal injury attorney Willie Gary (Jamie Foxx) to help save the family business. The men and their legal team uncover a deliberate web of deception designed by insurance companies to scam poor people out of their money by taking advantage of them in their time of grief. In the process of exposing corporate corruption, Willie and Jeremiah learn that they have a lot to like and respect about each other.

    It’s an irresistible story about legal system actually working the way it’s supposed to, and there are a lot of scenes featuring technical lawyer speak. It’s not dumbed down, which is refreshing, and the film features many scenes of legal strategy, brainstorming, and talk about business deals, burial insurance, and racial injustice. Thankfully it’s not as dry as it sounds, as Betts moves the timeline along quickly. She dives right into the lawsuit and the story, not wasting a lot of time setting things up.

    Foxx is perfectly cast as a flamboyant attorney, and he’s entertaining to watch in the role. Willie is all about showmanship, and he’s a lawyer with a knack for communicating with common folk. Foxx emotes this with a natural charisma and effortless spirit, and it’s difficult to resist his character’s dazzling charm. Jones doesn’t have a whole lot to do, but he provides the quiet balance needed as a contrast to Foxx (and they make a great onscreen pair).

    Since this is a courtroom legal drama, there are several scenes designed with the sole intention of emotionally manipulating the audience. Get ready for those gutsy monologues that are accompanied by corny dramatic music swells, or the requisite interaction where Willie at first refuses to take on Jeremiah’s case because the payday won’t be in the multi-million dollar range. It appears Betts suddenly had a change of heart and decided that she didn’t want to include every single courtroom cliché in her movie, however, because I was disappointed that there was no big, blustering closing argument scene.

    If you are a fan of legal dramas and like stories where greedy corporations get their what-for, then you are going to enjoy “The Burial.” This is a solid, easy watch about helping the little guy stick it to those responsible for the rampant monetary shakedowns that can lead to the financial ruin of normal, hardworking citizens.

    By: Louisa Moore for Screen Zealots