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Waking groggy in pitch darkness, Paul Conroy, an American truck driver working in Iraq in 2006, slowly realizes he is trapped inside a wooden coffin, buried alive. With his cigarette lighter, he can see the trap he is in, and he quickly realizes that there's not enough air for him to live long. He finds within the coffin a working cellphone, which allows him contact with the outside world. But the outside world proves not to be very helpful at finding a man buried in a box in the middle of the Iraqi desert. Paul must rely on his best resource--himself. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
I hate it when fantastic movies such as this get completely overlooked when it comes time for awards to be handed out. Buried is a triumph in minimalist filmmaking and is a heart wrenchingly intense movie experience. It is gripping, moving, frustrating, and terrifying. Oh yeah, and it all takes place inside a box. Paul Conroy, who is played by Ryan Reynolds and is the only character in the movie we actually see, wakes up in a coffin buried under the ground with no idea how he got there or who put him there. He shortly finds out that he is being held by ransom by a group of terrorists in Iraq. With only a pen, a flask, a cell phone, and only 90 minutes of oxygen, Paul has to act fast. The movie limits itself to an astounding extent, but makes the most out of what it has, creating an incredibly thrilling experience.
How much can you really expect from a movie that takes place in a human sized box with only one person? Buried delivers a lot more than you would expect from this scenario. It has all the right elements to make it as enthralling as any action film we see today. To start off, Rodrigo Cortes does a great job directing his limited space. He miraculously pulls off a lot of great shots and brilliant claustrophobic nuances. He directs with enough skill to keep the movie interesting in its entirety. The movie never felt lagged or drawn out and every moment where it would have slowed down it would throw a great twist or shocking moment that drew you right back in.
Furthermore, the director does a lot of great artistic work with what little he to work with. We have to take into consideration the fact that when you are buried underground in a coffin, there is obviously zero light. Thankfully Paul has various light sources with him in the coffin. And so to keep from breaking the realism of the film, these light sources are the only light in the film, making sure all light is authentic. Paul's light sources include a lighter, a flashlight, a cell phone, and a green glow stick. Each of these light sources gives off a different color, and these colors which obviously encompass everything when they are present add to and reflect the mood of the film. When things are calmer (relatively of course) we are treated to the soft blue light of the cell phone. As things grow more suspenseful and harrowing we are treated to scenes lit by the green glow stick. And when things grow more sinister the red lens of the flashlight is used. I found these minute details fascinating and they artistically added a lot to a film which had little room to work with.
While Cortes' directing gives the film plenty of life, Ryan Reynold's stalwart performance really drives the emotion of the film. He delivers a top notch performance, and he as to seeing as he is the only character in the film other than the various people he talks to on the phone which we never actually see. It can't be easy to carry a film all by yourself, but this year we were treated to two performances that did a superb job at it, the other of course being James Franco in 127 Hours.
Buried is a film that Alfred Hitchcock would have been proud of. It is a groundbreaking thriller that does so much with so little. It is such a harrowing movie experience that you cannot forget. All 90 minutes of this film are fascinating and gripping, especially the last fifteen. The final moments of the film are some of the most captivating and enthralling moments I've ever experienced through film. During the finale of the film you will want nothing more than to know the fate of Paul Conroy, and when you finally do learn his fate at the close of the film your jaw will drop and you will be utterly blown away by such a captivating on screen experience.
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