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Buried (2010)

DVD Cover (Lions Gate)
Director:
Rodrigo Cortés Rodrigo Cortés
Starring:
Ryan Reynolds Ryan Reynolds
José Luis García Pérez José Luis García Pérez
Robert Paterson Robert Paterson
Stephen Tobolowsky Stephen Tobolowsky
Samantha Mathis Samantha Mathis

7.0 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Psychological Thriller, Thriller
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Review by Chad
Added: February 17, 2012
Buried is yet another in a long line of films that I was interested in seeing, but put off for one reason or another. In this particular case, I put it off because I really didn't see how a film that takes place entirely inside of a box would hold my interest. I mean, I'm not Mr. Short Attention Span or anything like that, but really... how can you make a film like this work? One actor, one box, ninety minutes - I just didn't foresee it working out, regardless of how well the storyline itself was. Fortunately, I was incredibly wrong in my original assessment and I loved the film.

On that note, there's not much that I can say about the storyline without spoiling things. I am going to give one minor spoiler here though, so if you want to go in completely blind, I'd suggest skipping the rest of this paragraph. Anyway, the plot centers around Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds), an American truck driver who is working in Iraq. As the film begins, he is waking up inside a coffin that is buried under the desert sand, and as we soon find out, he was kidnapped by Iraqi insurgents and buried here in a ransom plot. He has a cell phone to communicate with the outside world, but it doesn't do him a whole lot of good as the only thing that he can tell people is that "he's buried somewhere in the desert"... which doesn't narrow it down very much. He eventually gets into contact with a hostage negotiator (Robert Paterson) who attempts to help him out of his situation, but the air supply in the coffin is limited and time is running out...

The character study and the phone conversations kept me extremely interested in this man's plight, but make no mistake about it: this is definitely not a movie for the ADD crowd. As mentioned, the entire ninety minutes takes place inside that box with only a zippo and a phone screen for lighting. There are no flashback sequences, there are no "meanwhile, over here" scenes, and aside from voices on his phone, there are no other actors in the movie. This is one of the most minimalist movies that I have ever seen, but again, the filmmakers made it work.

The story itself is incredibly simple: he is buried alive, he is going to die if he doesn't get out, and he has no idea how to figure out where he is buried. He talks to an assortment of people in an attempt to get help and he also talks to some of his family to say what he thinks are going to be his final goodbyes, and this is what we see throughout the entire running time. I can certainly see how this would divide crowds, but I felt that it was handled extremely well and it made for a very entertaining movie. By the time the ending rolls around, we have become genuinely attached to this man and want nothing more than to see him get out of this predicament and get home to his family.

Aiding this is the fact that Ryan Reynolds was damned good in the role. You could appreciate his frustration when he was getting the run-around on the phone, you could feel his fear and his tension, and this coupled with the very claustrophobic nature of the film made for one hell of a thriller. I may not be a huge fan of the man's work, but I have to give him major credit for his performance here. I also have to give credit to the voice actors who talked to Paul on his phone. You never got to see them, but they were extremely convincing none the less. Big thumbs up all around.

In fact, I only had two minor complaints about the film as a whole. First, there were too many "musical" scares - you know, scenes where the music is used in an attempt to get a jump scare out of you. These cheapened the movie as they almost always do, and what made them even worse was the fact that the volume on them was way above the normal volume level of the film. I had the movie set at a normal level while watching it, and these musical scares damned near rattled the windows. Tone that shit down, please. Secondly, there is a scene towards the middle of the film where a snake somehow manages to get into the coffin. Now, keep in mind that the coffin is buried... and then, let me repeat that a snake gets into it. I realize this scene was added to get a little action inside the box, but it was just downright silly. It seemed like the filmmakers didn't have faith in their minimalist approach, when it reality, they were doing just fine without that bit of nonsense.

Still, these are two minor complaints in an otherwise perfect movie. I know that it doesn't seem like the idea would work, but as minimal as the film was, it kept me glued to the screen from start to finish. I will concede that a movie like this may not be for everyone, but personally, I loved it and I think those of you who can handle a film with a slower pace will feel the same. 9/10.
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bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 02/17/2012, 09:13 PM
Appreciate what they were attempting to do but it wasn't able to keep me engaged. 6.5/10.
Chad #2: Chad - added 02/18/2012, 02:00 AM
Really? The only time I got bored was during the very beginning, when it began with two or three minutes of pitch black and silence... I thought Netflix had put up a bad copy or something, hah. Other than that, it never lost my interest.
Crispy #3: Crispy - added 05/04/2012, 02:24 AM
Reynolds earned a new found respect from me here. Still not big on his preferred comedic roles, but he was absolutely stellar here.
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