Review: Rami Malek as a Drifter With a Past in ‘Buster’s Mal Heart’

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Rami Malek in “Buster’s Mal Heart,” written and directed by Sarah Adina Smith.

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Well Go USA

In the oddly named “Buster’s Mal Heart,” an unkempt vagrant (Rami Malek) wanders the hills of Montana, squatting in empty vacation homes and sometimes defecating in the cookware. Long known to the authorities as Buster, he calls in to radio shows to rant about a coming apocalypse.

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Trailer: ‘Buster’s Mal Heart’

A preview of the film.


By WELL GO USA on Publish Date April 25, 2017.


Image courtesy of Internet Video Archive.

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Once, in another life, Buster was a loving husband and father called Jonah and a sleep-deprived night clerk at a characterless hotel. Between the two identities lies a dreadful, transformative event; and as the movie toggles from one to the other, its writer and director, Sarah Adina Smith, conjures a storyboard of surreal puzzle pieces that snap together then suddenly split apart. So when a mysterious stranger (DJ Qualls) seems to offer Jonah freedom from his puritanical in-laws and soul-deadening job, we somehow know that escape is not on the table.

Filmed with an alienating elegance by Shaheen Seth, “Buster’s Mal Heart” is about the making of a madman. It also aspires, with less success, to philosophically query the void at the center of modern life and Christianity’s failure to fill it. Religious homilies and paranoid exhortations spill from television sets where cartoons of men trapped in endlessly whirring machines dance dishearteningly. And if the story is…

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