Paul is a U.S. truck driver working in Iraq. After an attack by a group of Iraqis he wakes to find he is buried alive inside a coffin. With only a lighter and a cell phone it's a race against time to escape this claustrophobic death trap.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Conroy is recording his hostage video, a red light blinks beside the camera lens to show that it is recording. When he is recording his "will", the phone beeps to indicate it has started recording, but there is no light. See more »
Buried is easily one of the interesting movie experiments I have seen in recent times. Spanish director Rodrigo Cortes takes minimalist cinema-making to new heights by telling a story with just only one character trapped in one location in what is almost dogma 95esque settings, and far more importantly he manages to do so by keeping it interesting throughout the 90 minutes.
Buried opens with a man trapped in what appears to be a wooden box buried underground. As the movie progresses we find out he is Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) an American truck driver employed by an American firm - Creston Roland and Thomas (CRT) in Iraq. His last memory is that of his convoy being ambushed by people (as Conroy puts it- terrorists, insurgents who the f**k cares?). As he tries to piece it all together he finds out that he has lost his special contact number ( that apparently every American in Iraq has been given in case of an emergency) but discovers a mobile phone ( in Arabic settings) and a Zippo lighter alongside a pencil, a pocket knife, and supply of anti-anxiety pills ( we later learn that Conroy suffers from anxiety)
The rest of the movie is about his frenetic attempts to establish contact with outside world - his family, friends, employers, the state department to seek assistance to 'get him out'. But things start to get complicated when he is contacted on the phone by his abductor who requests him to arrange ransom from the American Embassy. Running out of both phone battery and air to breathe, Conroy soon finds out that the threats are not hollow; he is forced to make a video of himself which finds its way to the you tube. As things deliberate, Conroy starts to realise he is just a small, helpless insect caught in a web spun by devious and meaner players
I missed Cortes' interview on BBC Radio 4 yesterday so I'm not really sure the actual intention behind the movie but there are enough, unmissable, Geo-political subtexts in the script - "I never thought I will find myself here". "I don't think any of us thought we would find ourselves here". I read the movie as Conroy being symbolic of America trapped in a situation which he couldn't get out of despite all the technology and the capitalism abound - multinationals ( admit it, doesn't Creston Roland and Thomas sound impressive? especially, if you say it where the outside temperature is 50 degree centigrade?), answering machines ( that great trickster of a machine that promises to callback but doesn't), robot call operators ( Sir, I can connect you to the FBI field office in Boston, New York, Chicago ), the protocols (Crisis Steering Committee, Hostage Negotiation Team ) etc, all of which somewhat seem hopelessly trivial in the face of more existential needs.
Buried is a intelligent 21st century cinematic marriage of Kafka and Beckett. Philosophically, it is a wonderful screen portrayal of a nervous breakdown in the wake of continuing threat. I found how Cortes had guided Conroy's character through a sequence of emotions - anger, pain, fear, disdain, dread, calm and finally acceptance very beautiful, though in a sense beautiful is not the correct word here. The camera work, especially the use of different angles to emphasise different emotions within the limited setting of the movie is commendable. Last but not the least, I always remembered Ryan Reynolds as that lanky guy wearing a maroon sweatshirt in Two guys , a girl and a pizza place. It is fair to say not anymore. To be frank, he is a bit of surprise here; he lives up to the demands of the role - a lesser effort would have easily made the Buried a 90 minute closeup photo-shoot in dark light settings. Ryan should be proud of his efforts in the Buried.
In light of how the idea of cinema is recast lately, movies such as Buried ought to be encouraged, because, amongst million other reasons it defines what cinema is more than how a 3D movie would. I would prefer watching Buried again than writing a review of James Cameron's next big computer generated manipulation that is assured to collectively sweep the humanity into his bank account.
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