“The Burial” Movie Review: This Fiery Legal Drama Biopic Is More Than Just Great Acting

by Shaye Wyllie
the burial movie review

I’m not gonna lie … it took a while for me to watch “The Burial”. And not just because I’ve been ignoring all new movie and TV show releases due to the SAG AFTRA strike lately. (Yes, I’m writing this review during the strike, but by the time you read this, it’ll finally be over.)

However, it took me about a month after its premiere on Prime Video to finally turn on “The Burial” starring Jamie Foxx and Jurnee Smollett simply because it didn’t feel like something that would bring me great joy.

Of course, they made me kick myself for putting it off for so long! “The Burial” is literally the kind of feel-good film I’ve been wanting to watch lately.

And while it may start off a bit cocky and over the top, (because who really needs a 50-room mansion) don’t let the flash fool you. This one’s a biopic hidden gem, of how a Black lawyer uncovered a deeply troubling story of injustice and helped to stop it.

“The Burial” Movie Review

the burial movie review

A Refreshing Black Lawyer Narrative

Based on a true story, “The Burial” sheds light on the unsettling truth of how big corporations prey on vulnerable communities. Especially the Black community. Without giving too much away, throughout this story, we learn that sometimes things aren’t what they seem.

And it took a court case, and a few Black lawyers, to dig deep and uncover the truth. Charging triple the price of something in a Black neighborhood because you know they HAVE NO CHOICE to pay for it, but also because there’s no one else around that they can go to, is insane! Taking advantage of folks while they’re mourning is criminal!

But yet, people do it anyway!

However, Jamie Foxx shines bright (like a diamond) as a charismatic, confident Black lawyer, who’s living his dream life. And it’s incredibly refreshing to see a story about a Black lawyer who’s not struggling!

I’m not gonna lie though, at first it was a little hard to believe. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time because I thought they’d eventually drop the ball, and turn this great Black lawyer into the villain. As stories in the media tend to do.

But it never happened!

He wasn’t behind on bills. He took whatever cases he wanted. Knew his worth, and ran a firm with all Black lawyers, who helped Black clients. Of course, until another Black lawyer convinced him to take on a client that’s out of his norm. And seeing as how we rarely ever get to see Black people in this stature on TV, highlighted so positively, I absolutely loved this! 

But what I loved even more than the film’s ability to not wallow in Black trauma? Was the way it expertly uncovered the dark underbelly of capitalism and racism. How greed continues to make the rich, richer, while they profit off the backs of those who are already suffering!

Courtroom Drama with a Twist: The Chemistry of Jamie and Jurnee

the burial movie review
Doug Spearman as Richard Mayfield, Jurnee Smollett as Mame Downes, Gralen Bryant Banks as Walter Lee, Jamie Foxx as Willie Gary, Alan Ruck as Mike Allred, Dorian Missick as Reggie Douglas, and Mamoudou Athie as Hal Dockins in The Burial Photo: Skip Bolen © AMAZON CONTENT SERVICES LLC

At about two hours long “The Burial” really sinks its teeth in when Jurnee Smollett comes into play. The chemistry between Jamie and Jurnee was a delightful bonus, to what was already a great film. And their banter is deliciously entertaining.

Watching them both battle it out in front of a Black jury — yes, that’s right, Jurnee also plays a successful Black lawyer — made for one of the most exciting court cases I’ve ever seen. And I’ve served jury duty myself, so I know how dull things can be.

Y’all, even the ending of this film surprised me!

I definitely thought things would end in a totally different way than it did. Because again, I can admit when I have my own biases. But “The Burial” continues to shock and delight all the way to the end. And learning that it’s based on a true story, made me love it even more.

I’ve never been a big fan of biographical films. History just isn’t my jam.

But if we can keep creating Black biopic films this exciting and amazing, and not boring like Air, I’ll happily watch them all!

I still don’t like how it took a white man to take another white man to court, just for someone to even notice these BLACK communities and people were being taken advantage of. But I’ve learned to pick my battles wisely.

So I’ll complain about that at another time because there’s so much to love!

If you haven’t watched “The Burial” on Prime Video yet, today’s your day to run and do that! It’s perfect for a slow, or rainy weekend inside.

And if you’ve got time to spare, once you’re done with this check out one of my favorite Netflix series about a Black burial business, called “Buried by the Bernards“. It’s super funny, and a great look into the burial business from a Black POV.

“The Burial” is now streaming on Prime Video.

Rating: 5/5

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