January 30, 2011
Review - " Buried " - (in DVD) By Roland Hansen
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Directed by: Rodrigo Cortes
Starring: Ryan Reynolds
Paul is a U.S. contractor working in Iraq. After an attack by a
group of Iraqis he wakes to find he is buried alive inside a
The film opens in total darkness & silence. You start to
wonder if there's something wrong with your TV or DVD
player..... you hear breathing & then the sound of
movement. Paul is awakening to a nightmare beyond his
comprehension. But still, nothing on the screen for a few
minutes more. Some members of the audience twittered
nervously to themselves as they waited for something to
show up on the screen. The tension in these first few
minutes is nearly heart-stopping because of our inherent
fear of the dark. We can hear Paul..but we can’t see Paul.
And in fact until he finds a lighter in his pants & turns it on I think the audience was in fear for what would appear on screen
when the light finally appeared.
What we see is Mr. Reynolds covered in dirt & blood, gagged with his hands tied in front of him. He manages to cut the ties
that bind him on the end of a nail that is jutting out from the side of the box. He then spits out the gag & yells at the top of his
lungs…HEY…HEY!!! Of course to no avail. He gathers himself & tries to explore his space. The box is about 6 1/2 feet long
and about 3 feet wide. A coffin. A coffin buried somewhere under the sand in Iraq where nobody knows where he is except
the people who put him there.
After realizing his situation is pretty much hopeless he hears a telephone ring from inside & once he recovers it, sees that all
the words on the screen are written in Farsi. He doesn’t understand anything on it & answers it to late to find out who called.
But he realizes that he can get a signal & makes some calls to the outside world looking for help. With only a lighter and a
cell phone it’s a race against time to escape this claustrophobic death trap.
Paul’s captor calls him periodically demanding ransom money and other things, while he makes telephone calls all over the
world attempting to arrange a rescue. He also tries generating ransom money and warning his family about his terrorist
abductors. Dealing with poor phone reception, a weakening battery, a dwindling air supply, oppressive heat, and a
diagnosed anxiety disorder, Paul enlists his family, the military, government agencies, emergency 911, information 411, and
others in an increasingly desperate plea for help.
It’s cruel irony as he endures the typical bureaucratic runaround trying to reach his intended parties. He’s not lying on the
couch watching television while he’s put on hold; he’s frantically counting the minutes and trying to save oxygen so that he
can maybe live long enough to be rescued. Reynolds gives career-defining intense and harrowing performance in, what is
essentially, a one-man show. However Reynolds is up to the task and give a truly gives a tour-de-force and monumental
I have to applaude Director Rodrigo Cortes' brave attempt at something rarely done in Hollywood, shooting the entire film
within the confines of a wooden box. With only one on-screen actor, one costume, few props, and nearly no lighting, no
sunlight, no sky, no people. Every single scene in the movie is Ryan Reynolds so it becomes very important that you buy his
character and his performance of his character.
I have to admit that I was completely bored in the first 30
minutes of the film. I couldn't imagine watching another hour
of this one trick pony. I paused it and went to bed. I did finally
watch the rest of it the next norning and it does get better. In
a time where CGI and 3D graphics rule, "Buried" does the
complete opposite by being overly simple in its presentation.
The maneuver isn't completely misguided. Buried isn't bad, but
it isn't really that good. I had a difficult time deciding between
2 and 2 1/2 stars. There are parts of this film that are truly
good, bordering on great. The ending did elevate the overall
movie quite a bit but I just couldn't get over the first 30 minutes
of utter boredom.