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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>
Buried is a film that keeps things deadly simple, one character, one location and a one line but horribly inspired plot, those looking for flashy visuals or big action should turn far, far away from this one. It's worth noting though that the film is well directed and photographed, director Rodrigo Cortes has a nimble eye for visuals and angles to keep things visually interesting, while cinematographer Eduard Grau gets the best out of the mere two light sources to make the experience a frighteningly vivid one. The plot sees Ryan Reynolds waking up in a coffin, with nothing more than a cell-phone and his lighter to help him out, things develop through his series of fraught, occasionally bleakly amusing and increasingly desperate communications with the outside world. Its rather interesting to see a film so based around interactions on a mobile phone, devices so often objects of fear, suspicion, or in the case of some horror films and of course the cinematic experience for the viewer, irritations. Here every ring is crucial, the battery bar is nail-biting, even the light of the screen is important. For me, just as interesting was the choice of lead. I've never had time for Ryan Reynolds, a face from some of the worst in lowbrow comedy and someone I never expected to appreciate breaking through into not just serious film but something as bold in its structure as this. A lot of people are likely to dislike the film on a fundamental level, but Reynolds gives the performance of his life here, running through a rainbow of emotions, angry, sarcastic and terrified are but a few. Compelling and sympathetic, likely physically arduous too (though I'd don't know how the film was made it must have been tough, barring serious trickery) he holds the film wonderfully. The script is of course of utmost importance too, and writer Chris Sparling does mostly terrific work. An ordinary man reacting as best he can to a nightmare, drawing on the sort of resourcefulness he probably hoped he'd never need, occasionally breaking down but keeping ploughing on, shades of dark humour in the protagonist's travails on the phone, its endlessly interesting and as time goes on, nail-bitingly suspenseful. I had minor issues with realism in the film, and there was at least one interesting little aside that could have been developed a bit more, but overall this is a great achievement. It surely won't appeal to everyone and my rating might seem generous, but for doing this well on such a risky concept, and putting together a suspenser that remains thought provoking after, a 9/10 from me.
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