Tiff.net, By Maggie Betts, Posted Octobear 25th 2023
Oscar winners Tommy Lee Jones and Jamie Foxx star in this rousing David and Goliath courtroom drama about one family’s struggle to hold onto their mom-and-pop funeral home in the face of heartless corporate exploitation.
Based on true events, this rousing David and Goliath courtroom drama stars Oscar winners Tommy Lee Jones and Jamie Foxx as two unlikely allies united by a shared desire for justice. Directed by Maggie Betts (TIFF ’17’s Novitiate), The Burial generates suspense and laughter as it chronicles one family’s struggle to hold onto their funeral home in the face of heartless corporate exploitation.
As he turns 75, Biloxi, Mississippi funeral director Jeremiah O’Keefe (Jones) feels blessed by his wife and children and the legacy he’s proud to leave to them. But debts force Jeremiah to sell parts of his business to a corporation rapidly buying up funeral homes, cemeteries, and insurance companies to profit from what its CEO, Ray Loewen (Bill Camp), refers to as “the golden age of death.”
When Jeremiah’s contract with Ray is in dispute, he solicits the services of Willie E. Gary (Foxx), a flamboyant personal-injury lawyer who hasn’t lost a case in 12 years — but who doesn’t know a thing about contract law. After Ray hires a hotshot defence team, it becomes clear the odds are stacked against Jeremiah and Willie. But despite their different backgrounds, they recognize qualities in each other they feel certain will see them through: faith, integrity, and a tireless fighting spirit.
The Burial takes a probing look into a multibillion-dollar death-care industry poised to take advantage of people during the most vulnerable moments in their lives. It is also wildly entertaining, capitalizing on Jones’ magnetic decency and Foxx’s singular ability to balance showmanship with heart. The way these men join forces will have you cheering.