26 January 2011



Starring Ryan Reynolds, Robert Paterson, Stephen Tobolowsky, Samanta Mathis. Chris Sparling. Directed by Rodrigo Cortés. Release: 27 September 2010. Lionsgate, 93 mins., Rated R

Plot: Paul Conroy wakes up to find himself buried in a wooden coffin. Oh, shit.

They did it. They actually did it. Somehow, someway, they made an entire 1hr. 33 min. movie set entirely in the confines of a wooden coffin, and made it as riveting and pulse-pounding as a Jason Bourne movie. Major kudos to Ryan Reynolds and director Rodrigo Cortes, especially for Cortes who had the difficult job of filming such a confined space and ended up using that to his advantage: the best example I can think of immediately is some exquisite use of zooms on Paul's face in moments of heightened excitement or tension.

Although the situation is dire, that doesn't mean there's not room for comedy. Perhaps this is why they cast Reynolds, because he has this amazing ability to be dramatic and comedic at the same time. Rare gift, and he pulls it off in spades. Not saying this happens a lot, but just enough to make Paul an instantly likable personality.

Perhaps my most appreciative thing about BURIED is the intelligence of the script. Although we follow only one character the entire movie, thanks to the presence of a cell phone (which makes sense in the context of the film) he's able to talk to multiple people (wife, wife's friends, Company Man, hostage negotiators, etc.), and with each conversation the script delivers enough hints and information about Paul's life and personality that by the end of the movie, we get a pretty good idea of who this man is, the life he leads, and a bit of his history. Nothing is outright spoken like exposition, instead the script and director allows the phone calls and actor performances tell the story. Great stuff, there. Now, a complete 360 from that: the script has one of the top five most intense scenes of the year: Paul vs. the Snake. Similar to Indiana Jones, I HATE snakes, so those five minutes nothing could have pried my eyes from the screen to see how he got out of that particular situation.

Another fantastic moment is a phone conversation between Paul and Alan Davenport, a representative of the company Paul was driving trucks for. It's heartbreaking, moreso than his call to his wife Linda, and Reynolds delivers not the comedy, but the drama and outrageous proportions of the conversation magnificently. Really, I can't give this movie enough accolades.

In the end, BURIED was spectacular. Sure, there was the side of me who had KILL BILL VOL. 2 on my mind thinking, 'Why doesn't he just pull a Pai Mei and punch his way out?', but that didn't distract from the intense and dramatic experience of the film. I'm sure if I watched this in theaters I would have been even more glued in and sucked into the events unfolding, but on DVD it did just fine. 30 minutes had passed before I even thought about checking how far in the flick was in (something I regrettably do quite often), and I was befuddled cos it felt nothing more than five minutes had passed. Reynolds, the script, the camera work, and even the music all come together to make one hell of an unforgettable movie experience. BURIED is highly recommended.

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