Buried (2010) Poster



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  • Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds), an American truck driver working in the Iraq desert, wakes up to find himself bound, gagged, and buried inside a large wooden box with only a cigarette lighter, his cellphone, a flask of alcohol, his anti-anxiety medication, a knife, glowsticks, and a pencil. He tries calling for help: 9-1-1, his wife Linda, the FBI, his employer, friends—but he either gets an answering machine, is disconnected, or they hang up on him when he borders on hysteria. Then he hears from his captor, an Iraqi insurgent named Jabir (José Luis García Pérez) (voice) who demands $5 million dollars from the Embassy before he will release Paul from the box. Paul's only hope of rescue before the oxygen runs out lies in a hostage rescue group led by Dan Brenner (Robert Paterson) (voice). Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Buried is an original screenplay written by American screenwriter Chris Sparling. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • No. Paul occasionally receives images and videos from his captors from unknown locations. He also hallucinates seeing the coffin lid opening at one point, though nothing is shown but a bright light. There are no flashbacks or cutaways showing anything other than what's happening inside the box. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Paul has a signal, but it's buried, and he loses it a few times in the film. Dan Brenner comes to the conclusion that Paul must only be buried a couple of feet underground, since he was able to get a signal. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The movie occurs in real time and runs for approximately 90 minutes, from the time that Paul wakes up inside the box until the end of the movie. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • As the sand starts flowing into the coffin, Paul makes a video of his last will and testament, leaving $700 and his annuity to his wife Linda and his clothes to his son Shane. He says his goodbyes then watches as the flame on his lighter goes out. Suddenly, his phone begins vibrating. It's Jabir asking where is the money. Paul replies that he doesn't know. Jabir tells him to cut his finger off and make a video showing blood or he's going to make Linda and Shane show blood. He promises that, if Paul makes the video, he will tell the U.S. government where he is buried. Paul calls Linda first and leaves a message warning her not to go to their house because his abductors know where she lives. As the sand piles up around his body, Paul makes a last desperate attempt to contact Dan Brenner and inform him that the abductors are still alive. Unfortunately, he gets no answer. With no options left, Paul cuts off his finger as directed and sends the video. His phone begins vibrating again, and he has a hallucination of the lid being lifted off the coffin. When the hallucination ends, Paul answers the phone. Brenner informs him that coalition forces just picked up a Shiite insurgent outside of Baghdad. He claimed to know where an American was buried alive. He agreed to show him the spot if they would let him go. They're on the way. Paul hangs up and Linda calls. She has finally gotten home and answered the phone. As the sand fills in around Paul's head, he begins to hear digging on the phone. With only seconds of air left, Brenner tells him sadly that the insurgent led them to Mark White, the man Brenner claimed had been previously rescued. "I'm sorry, Paul. I'm so sorry," says Brenner. In the final scene, the coffin fills with sand, Paul's light goes out, and Brenner repeats, "I'm sorry, Paul. I'm so sorry." Edit (Coming Soon)

  • When Paul is just about to give up hope, Brenner says they saved another hostage named Mark White who is now home. At the end, however, Brenner digs up White and not Paul, so the question remains as to what really happened to Mark White. Three possibilities have been offered: (1) Brenner was telling the truth, (2) White was also kidnapped in Iraq in a similar situation just weeks before, and it was he who was saved, or (3) Brenner was lying about saving White in an attempt to give Paul hope. The movie itself gives little reason to believe one scenario over the other, however most viewers conclude that the third is most probable. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Yes. The camera pans down the lid of the coffin, lit by the flashlight, showing the name "Mark White" in the square that Paul Conroy wrote earlier. Given how the movie ends, the scene is most likely set during the movie not afterwards. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Most estimates range from 60 to 90 minutes without an air source, longer if there is a source of airflow. Paul survived about 90 minutes in the coffin. He also panicked, breathed heavily, coughed, puked, talked on the phone, and burned a cigarette lighter, which would use up significantly more oxygen than just controlled breathing, so we're to assume that he still had a little air left even at the end, possibly from the snake hole. Other considerations to take into account include: (1) Paul was buried in sand, which is more porous than dirt, (2) the depth at which Paul was buried (Brennan estimates 2 to 3 feet or he wouldn't be able to hear the call to prayer or get cell reception), and (3) the size of the box was much larger than a normal coffin. However, the problem of survival is compounded by the fact that, while the victim is breathing in oxygen, s/he is also breathing out carbon dioxide. Poisoning due to excess CO2 in the environment can result in loss of consciousness and convulsions before the oxygen ever runs out. The TV show MythBusters "Buried Alive" (2003) tested the myth to see if someone could survive being buried alive for two hours but discovered that a bigger problem was that the coffin began to bend under the weight of the earth used to cover it, and the experiment had to be aborted. Edit (Coming Soon)


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