Director: Rodrigo Cortés
They say claustrophobics need not apply... and they'd be right. I wouldn't consider myself a claustrophobic person, I ride a sardine tin into work every day (also known as a Metro train), I'm not opposed to the idea of going caving and once spent several minutes zipped up in a suitcase to prove I could fit inside... and was subsequently abandoned in there as a joke. Yet I was so very, truly grateful to breathe some fresh air after leaving a screening of Rodrigo Cortés' latest thriller Buried. Set entirely in a box with nothing but the hunky Ryan Reynolds to entertain our eyeballs for an hour and a half, my initial scepticism soon wore off as I found myself sucked into this tense Hitchcockian MacGyver film.
Here's the rundown: Ryan Reynolds plays studly truck driver Paul Conroy on contract in Iraq during American occupation. I'd like to insert a side note here that never in my life have I seen a truck driver as sculpted and truly foxy as Mr Paul Conroy, Linfox please take note and alter your employment procedures stat. When his convoy is ambushed Conroy wakes up to discover he's been buried alive with nothing but a pen, a lighter, a knife, a mobile phone, his anxiety medication, a dodgy flashlight and some glow sticks - what do you do? What do you do? Oh and there's the small matter of getting a $5 million ransom to his captors for his release.
|Paul realised now was not the time for a solo rave but the glow stick proved too tempting|
What follows is, for lack of a more creative way of expressing it, one of the most tense film experiences of recent memory. I couldn't stop myself from thinking about the recently run contest in the States which saw winners treated to a preview screening of the film from the comfort of their very own coffin. Slowly I began to realise I wasn't breathing normally, as though my self imposed oxygen restrictions would somehow help the sexy Paul Conroy in his plight. Once I realised I was feeling faint I returned to my regular breathing patterns and stared on in pure fascination as Paul attempted to free himself from his underground prison.
What surprised me the most was how Cortés managed to maintain the tension and intrigue throughout the film despite the limited location and characters, how Reynolds kept up his level of intensity and perspiration, and how despite tiptoeing into delivering some sort of message the film managed to make me think without making me angry I was being preached to. Buried is a little hammy in that things are a little too convenient to be easily digested. When you think things couldn't get any worse a snake appears, I mean really, the guy is buried alive for Christmas sake, do we really need to throw a snake into the ring as well? His mobile phone has JUST enough battery power to get him through the run time, he loses the phone signal, picks it up by moving the phone around the coffin for a bit, then this signal problem magically fixes itself for the rest of the film, or for the majority of it at least. I kept thinking thank God he doesn't have an iPhone or the film would only run 45 minutes before the battery dies and he can't negotiate his own rescue.
|Paul thought about his life and how he had ended up Buried|
It goes without saying, this is a B-grade movie, there are some faults but it's a hell of an emotional ride and despite feeling close to exhausted during and after the film, in hindsight I remember it fondly. I wouldn't say this is an all out fun film, you won't come skipping out if it, but I tell you what, I'd rather spend 95 minutes in a coffin with Ryan Reynolds than 5 minutes with Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love so I know what my choice would be this weekend at the movies!
3.5 / 5