Rami Malek and Director/Writer Sarah Adina Smith Shine Bright In Indie Gem "Buster's Mal Heart"

Rami Malek's latest starring role released to the masses is that of Jonah/Buster in Buster's Mal Heart. Writer and director Sarah Adina Smith created the film with a unique approach, combining a partially finished script with an improvisational filmmaking style that allowed for greater creativity and collaboration with her colleagues.

"I think Rami, from my perspective, was really taking a risk on me and this movie. It was an experimental script. It was like sixty pages, it was a dense outline, but I like to work that way because it keeps everybody on their toes on set. There's no safety net when you work that way. I think actors are our most brilliant shamans. I think I'm always looking to be surprised on set."

Rami Malek spoke highly of both Smith and the story at a Q&A following a special screening at the Aneglika Film Center in Manhattan, New York.

"I fell in love with what she put on the page. It wasn't fully fleshed out but, it felt like we were reading a short story and I fell in love with it and fell in love with the way she wrote it and the way she described everything. There were things in there that I really enjoy exploring in my own work and then I sat down and we had a proper cup of tea. I met Sarah and was blown away by the way she spoke about the film and the way she spoke about her own ideas. I'm really attracted to people who write and direct their own work because there is that unity of a vision. It's just some deep, really cool philosophical things that I like throwing myself into work-wise. When you have someone as talented as she is, it's kind of a no-brainer."

Buster's Mal Heart is centered around the character of Buster, a lone Mountain Man, and the life he had before that as Jonah, a disenfranchised hotel concierge trying to make a better life for his wife and child. With a non-linear narrative and plenty of Surrealism, the film may take a bit longer to connect with, for viewers less accustomed to the more artistic, abstract forms of filmmaking. But it is entirely worth the journey, as there is also a tremendous amount of social commentary interwoven throughout, ranging from the disenfranchisement of individuals suffering from mental illness, the cognitive impact of prolonged sleep deprivation, and the intersectionality of race with several other social issues. Rami Malek gives a gripping, multi-faceted performance that masterfully encompasses a particularly broad spectrum of human emotion and behaviour. Supporting actor DJ Qualls also delivers a strong portrayal, with all the manic paranoia one would expect from a Y2K-fearing conspiracy theorist. Director Sarah Adina Smith has served truly powerful, creative imagery and the sound-editing/scoring is another particularly strong point.

With a limited theatrical run, all shows/dates for Buster's Mal Heart can be found at:

Watch the full Q&A with star Rami Malek and director/writer Sarah Adina Smith from the Angelika Film Center here:


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