January 19, 2011
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**This is new to Blu-ray and DVD this week**
Rodrigo Cortés may just be the new Hitchcock. With a simple premise and a very simple setting, he manages to make a gut wrenching film. Ryan Reynolds, taking a break from rom-coms and comic book movies, delivers something powerful.
Buried stars Reynolds as Paul Conroy, an American contractor working in Iraq. He wakes up in a coffin. He doesn’t exactly know why or where he is, but it quickly becomes apparent that he is buried alive. With just a cell phone, a lighter, and a few other things, he is trapped and hopeless. By using the cellphone, he attempts to find where he is, get his ransom paid, and/or get out of the coffin before the air runs out.
It sounds like a simple premise, and it is. But what makes this film work is the story. The script, and Reynolds literally acting alone, the film finds a way to build tension from the first flash of the lighter to the final moments. Small bits of action keep us on edge and begging for his release. I want so much to explain some of them but I make these reviews as spoiler free as possible. I can say that rather than resting on cheap gimmicks, we explore this tiny set that becomes the entire movie. We are trapped with Paul as he tries to survive.
The film made me think of the similar scene in Kill Bill Vol. 2 and magicians who escape from coffins for entertainment. But you don’t realize just how dire the situation is until you try to really think things out. The film takes a slow boil approach to the conflict; Reynolds takes us through the 5 stages of loss as we navigate his fear. When the final half hour kicks in, the film becomes almost unwatchable as one thing leads to another in an escalation that reaches a climax that will linger with you. A brilliant film and a great example of the “one tiny setting” sub genre (1408, 127 Hours). 5 out of 5 stars.