If I told you that you could be enthralled for 1 hour and 34 minutes watching nothing but Ryan Reynolds lying in a dark box you may think I am crazy. This was the challenge that Director Rodrigo Cortes faced and conquered with his film Buried (2010). The film follows Paul Controy’s (Ryan Reynolds) desperate race against time while being held hostage in a buried coffin. The movie is shot in real time as Paul has 90 minutes to pay his own ransom or die in the coffin. With nothing but a lighter and a cell phone, Paul frantically tries to get the help of his family, his employer, and even the U.S. government in order to escape his predicament. As we soon learn, Conroy is an American truck driver contracted in Iraq and while delivering some equipment on a humanitarian aid program, he is captured and knocked unconscious before waking up in the box. We don’t see the attack or the handling of the prisoner, all we see is a man buried alive in a box. As every minute passes in this real-time thriller we see hope for Conroy fading and anxiety taking over.
The film is beautifully done. Cortes builds suspense and a character with nothing but a camera. The film does feature some of the voices on the phone of Robert Paterson, Stephen Tobolowsky, Samantha Mathis, and Erik Palladino. But the true star here is Reynolds. The film came out after his first starring role and break out film The Proposal but in my opinion this was Reynolds best performance. Whenever there is a film that focuses on one character I always make comparisons to Cast Away. In my opinion, the fact that I watched nothing but Tom Hanks and a volley ball for 2.5 hours is a magnificent piece of acting and film making. Though not quite on the same par, Buried reminded me of just that. For 134 minutes I was completely enthralled by the every moment and breath Reynolds took. Additionally, I thought the script was very good and gave us just enough impact from the outside world that the film needed. I only cared about what the voices on the phone said because I cared what Conroy’s reaction would be. Cortes takes you on a roller coaster of emotions as you watch Conroy receiving glimmers of hope only to have them crushed a minute later. I will not reveal more of the story than I already have but trust me on this one. If you don’t spend the hour and a half watching this film, I may just bury you alive.
Violence: some violent content (whatever that means)
Language: this is what probably got in the R rating though not bad at all.
Run time: 134 min
Grade: 4 Stars