“The Burial”- A Catholic Review and Commentary on Race And Sin

by Movie Reviews and Recommendations, Sin

Fans of courtroom dramas might enjoy a new film, The Burial, released October 13 on Amazon Prime and is based on a true story of a legal battle between a hometown funeral director and a corporate funeral mogul.  Jerry O’Keefe inherited the family chain of funeral homes in Mississippi from his father and hoped to pass the business and an inheritance on to his numerous children and grandchildren.  Jerry, however, falls on hard times and finds himself in a bind requiring him to sell a few of the funeral homes in order to salvage his business and legacy.  His longtime lawyer advised selling to the Loewen Group as they were acquiring funeral homes throughout the United States.  The Loewen Group rescinds their agreement in an attempt to bankrupt Jerry O’Keefe who instead of caving decided to challenge them in court with a showboating attorney he hired.  The 2+ hour long movie details this story and the unfolding of the courtroom drama and final decision. 

The Burial Trailer

The movie treats several heavy themes, and the use of humor helps to lighten the mood.  Most of the cast is African American, and the film seeks to offer a commentary on racism and how deeply rooted and embedded racism can be within the heart and soul of a person.  As the viewer is confronted with racism; one scene in particular, a visit to a cemetery for slaves, strikes to the heart.  As the courtroom drama unfolds, other elements of racism are brought forward, including unethical business practices with underprivileged Black communities. 

Deadly Sins

The movie also provides commentary on several deadly sins.  Greed is a common sin for several of the main characters.  Pride too hits home in the life of attorney Willie Gary who is served a dose of humility.  Other moral life topics addressed in the film include lying, impatience, and jealousy.  Also, one has to grapple with the consequences of an ancestor’s choices or decisions and what effect they should have on a person generations later. 

Reminders of faith are found in different rooms such as a cross and a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the O’Keefe house.  The Burial does a fine job of portraying married characters as devoted to their wives and also to their family, be it children or parents.  It also teaches one to fight to the bitter end and not to give up when setbacks are encountered.  As the story concludes and the credits roll, the audience learns of the good work that Jerry accomplished before his death and how he maintained a lifelong friendship with his lawyer Willie Gray after the trial.

Can a Catholic Watch The Burial?

An issue I had with the film was the causal use of Jesus Christ in character dialogues.  Other inappropriate language was used, including a handful of f-bombs.  Inappropriate language does not dominate the movie but is overpowering in a few scenes. The use of humor often was appropriate but, on a few occasions, inappropriate and suggestive humor was used.  The movie would not be suitable for children and would be best viewed as a date night for a couple.

Fr. Looney’s Rating

6.5/10- I enjoyed the humor and the storyline, but certain scenes caused my soul to be troubled.    

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