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A Psychological Thriller Like No Other
"Buried" is probably one of the most unique thrillers, I have ever seen. Unlike most thrillers where it plays solely on the elements and tension of dramatic scenes, this one emphasizes on the atmosphere created by its consolidated surroundings, as well as Ryan Reynolds brilliant performance. For those who haven't heard about this movie, then your in for a real treat. The movie is essentially about a U.S.A. contractor, Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds), who gets a job in Iraq as a truck driver. Unfortunately, he gets attacked and kidnapped by a group of Iraqis, to where the next moment he wakes up, he finds himself buried alive inside a coffin. With very little air to breath and not much time, he finds himself trapped within this coffin. One would think that this would mean the inevitable doom for our main protagonist, but he soon finds that his would be kidnappers didn't exactly leave him in that coffin to die. No, in the coffin he finds a lighter and a cell phone to use.
Naturally, I know many of you reading this are probably thinking that this story easily ends in either two ways. Either he suffocates to death, or the operator manages to trace his cell phone signal and he's saved. Am I right? Or am I right? Well, the answer to that isn't that simple, as one might think. For you see, every diplomat, every official, his employer, and every family member that he calls and begs for help, isn't exactly helpful. If anything, the "911" operator doesn't even bother tracing his call. No, no, no, he's outside of "911's" jurisdiction, as he's forced to be put on hold for long periods of time. Then when he does get through to someone, the person on the other line isn't interested in helping him. No, they're more concerned with asking him petty questions, like how did he get into the coffin or why he's there to begin with, as they're more concerned with covering their own a**es, for this mess.
To make matters worse, an unknown Iraqi calls him on the cell demanding he get a hold of anyone to pay for his ransom of five million American dollars, or else he'll die. Not only that, but this unknown Iraqi knows everything about Paul; including where his wife and son are. Therefore, with nobody to trust and going through such bureaucracy, as every person he reaches is more concerned about covering up the incidence rather than actually helping him. Add in the isolated elements of claustrophobia and the pressure of time. As each moment passes that he is unable to get help or manage to uphold the Iraqian's ransom demands, means one minute closer to dying inside that coffin or worse, his family could be killed as well.
What makes this film unbelievably interesting is that the entire movie takes place inside the coffin. That's right folks. This entire film is shot inside the coffin, as there are no flashbacks of Paul's life leading up to that point, nor is there any scenes showing how Paul got into that predicament to begin with. In fact, like Paul, you don't even see who the other people are on the other end of the phone line. Let alone if they're actually doing anything if at all, to help rescue our protagonist. No, like our hero, the audience is just as clueless as Paul. By now some of you are probably wondering, why watch a ninety minute movie where the entire film just shows a man inside a coffin? That's a very good question, as I doubt this movie will appeal to everyone, due to the isolated environment the entire movie takes place.
However, for those true movie fans out there, the isolated environment not only enhances the story element, it allows for the viewer to identify with our protagonist. Getting the full effect of isolation within the coffin, as the viewer will feel like they're right in there with Ryan Reynolds, as he struggles for survival. Plus, this movie has a lot more action sequences than one might believe. As there is one moment when Paul is forced to use his ingenuity to fight off a deadly snake that slithers into the casket with him. Not only does this add another element of danger, it also helps intensify the movie even more, and giving the audience a break between the scenes where Paul is forced to plead for his life on the phone, to get a hold of anyone who might be able to help him.
"Buried" isn't for the faint of heart, and it's definitely isn't for those that suffer from claustrophobia. However, it's a brilliant masterpiece in modern film making. Director, Rodrigo Cortes, and screenwriter, Chris Sparling, do an excellent job using the isolated environment itself to create the danger and tension of this film, while using creative camera angles to add to it. Setting the tone early, as the story isn't merely as simple as Paul calling the authorities, and they're easily able to trace him. No, no, no, this movie is far too complex for that, within it's own dubious simplicity.
As for Ryan Reynolds? What can I say about this man that would give him justice for this role? It takes a helluva of an actor to carry a movie; especially one where your the only one physically seen in it. Therefore, I have nothing but respect for Ryan for pulling this off, as he shows that behind his smug playboy side, he typically plays in romantic comedies, he's actually capable of being a serious actor when he wants to be.
Overall, "Buried" is definitely by far the best thriller I've seen all year. The only draw back though is that the unique concept of the entire movie taking place in such an isolated environment might turn off a lot of audiences. But for those true cinema fans out there, then "Buried" leaves something to be viewed, as it truly is one of the most unique films made all year. I'd give this film a three and a half out four.