Posted April 16, 2011 by Marcia Degia - Publisher in B
 
 

Buried DVD/ BR


Ryan Reynolds gets buried
alive in this hugely effective thriller that isn’t short on atmospherics and
histrionics.

Survival
horrors are very in vogue right now. On the one hand you have the character
driven, life affirming, awards friendly 127
Hours
and on the other the more B-Movie horror shocks of Frozen. While one sees a man trapped
beneath a rock the other sees a group of friends stuck up a chair-lift. Buried falls somewhere between the two but
manages to surpass both in its ability to convey the terror of the situation so
completely
. Crucial to any survival horror is the question, “What would you do?” and in Buried’s
case it is a relief to see the protagonist try everything to change his
circumstance.

Paul
Conroy (Reynolds) is a contractor
truck driver working in Iraq. After his convoy is attacked Paul finds himself
coughing awake in a coffin buried somewhere in Iraq. Tight on space and running
out of air Paul is equipped with only a lighter and a phone for company. As he
tries desperately to find a way out of his sandy prison he must navigate
difficult politics while negotiating with his own hostage takers.

Straight out of the gate
Buried should come with a health warning. If you suffer from claustrophobia
this is a film that will test your resolve to the absolute limit
. From the opening panicked
moments of Paul’s awakening in his dark tomb right through to the harrowing
climax, as sand slowly fills the box, Buried does exactly what it says on the
tin. We are always with Paul throughout his ordeal and as such everything he
suffers we do to. It is a brilliant use of what could otherwise be a limited
concept.

With
it’s Hitchcock like opening credit sequence director Rodrigo Cortes is clearly looking to the master of suspense as a
key influence on the film and as such you know you are in for a thrilling ride.
Cortes utilises the limited location to
fascinating effect. Never are we out of the coffin so we are often crunched up
and tight in on Pau
l. However, this does not stop Cortes creating shots to
heighten the situation by isolating Paul in the frame
at his darkest moments of despair.

Of
course with only a phone for company much of Paul’s frustration culminates in
the endless bureaucracy he has to face. The
endless ‘please holds’ and ‘there’s no need to be rude sir’ are all achingly
familiar only adding to both our and his anger at the position he finds himself
in
. In one instance he is asked if he minds the conversation being recorded
only to discover the purpose of which is so he can be fired and it be on
record. The script deals in these perfectly created moments of psychology so
well it draws you that much further into the character and hence is gruelling
misfortune.

While
the concept is solid there are moments when you feel it might not last the
running time. A scene involving a snake infiltrating the coffin screams of
desperation to inject some action into proceedings when the principle of the
film is very much a less is more ethos.

Of
course the film could well have died of suffocation without the right man to be
buried with. Considering the character of Paul is never off screen, and must
express every emotion under the sun in a short 90 minute running time the
casting was essential. Thankfully Cortes turned to the normally cheekily dry
Ryan Reynolds. Very much a Hollywood darling after hits like The Proposal and
the forthcoming Green Lantern Reynolds
here proves he has got serious acting chops as well as worryingly chiselled
good looks
. His frustration and impotence at the situation he finds himself
in is infectious to watch. Sure he manages to sneak his trade-mark glibness in
response to being asked what his capturers will do if a ransom is not paid,
“they’ll take me to Sea World” but if anything it lends itself to the ludicrous
situation he finds himself in. All
blood, sweat, sand and tears this cannot have been an easy ride for Reynolds,
but he more than passes muster as a man on the edge desperately clinging to the
hope of survival.

By
the time the end credits roll you will be exhausted but in the best way
possible. Buried is a rare treat in the way it takes a simple concept and
manages to retain a morbid fascination. With
a script that keeps pulling the rug out from under you and direction that oozes
the horrors of the situation Buried is a film to get stuck into
. Just
remember to take a spade.


Marcia Degia - Publisher

 
Marcia Degia has worked in the media industry for more than 10 years. She was previously Acting Managing Editor of Homes and Gardens magazine, Publishing Editor at Macmillan Publishers and Editor of Pride Magazine. Marcia, who has a Masters degree in Screenwriting, has also been involved in many broadcast projects. Among other things, she was the devisor of the documentary series Secret Suburbia for Living TV.