“Buried,” a success against all odds

Courtesy Lion's Gate

If you could apply the word “tense” to just one movie this year, I think you would be hard pressed to find one more cringe-worthy, than “Buried.”

Ryan Reynolds stars as Paul Conroy, an American contractor working in Iraq. After his convoy is attacked, he wakes up in a wooden coffin with just a cell phone and a lighter. But surprisingly, these two elements are enough to craft a whole movie around…and a damn good one at that.

The film opens with a pitch-black screen. For a good 10 seconds you hear no noise at all. But then you start to hear breathing, which escalates to a muffled panic, to straight up screaming and thrashing. Brilliantly, you are made to feel exactly how Reynolds feels: If he can’t see, you can’t see.

It is not until he finds the lighter that you are visually brought into his situation. And after only 10 minutes in, I found myself stretching my legs, just to remind myself that I could. My friend turned over to me and said, “I feel like I can’t breathe.” Getting jittery yet?

Yes, the entire movie takes place in the coffin. No, there are no flashbacks. No, there are no cutaways. If the filmmakers wanted to, they easily could have incorporated that. But director Rodrigo Cortes and screenwriter Chris Sparling had a film experiment in mind, one that they successfully pull off against all odds.

I don’t care if this isn’t the type of movie that the Academy recognizes…Reynolds deserves a Best Actor nomination this year. He manages to carry the entire movie by himself, while never overacting in a situation where it would have been extremely easy to do so.

Admittedly there were times when the film started to feel repetitive and I got the smallest bit annoyed…but I forgave it this, because, well…who wouldn’t be screaming and banging senselessly against the box if they found themselves buried underground?

Rating: 3/4 stars

Directed by: Rodrigo Cortes

Starring: Ryan Reynolds

MPAA Rating: R