Spanish Direct Rodrigo Cortes takes the concept of single location thrillers and strips everything away leaving the audience with one actor and a wooden crate, buried underground. It’s a brave move, and one that actually pays off despite some hiccups along the way.
Ryan Reynolds plays the role of Paul Conroy, an American truck driver in Iraq who awakes to find himself buried alive in a coffin, and this is exactly how the film kicks off. The viewer is greeted with a black screen with nothing but audio clues. We hear noises that indicate someone in a restless sleep, slowly waking up. This slowly intensifies into panic and terror as Conroy discovers his predicament.
If you look at Ryan Reynolds career, you’ll see he’s been in his fair share of films, but you’ll also notice that he’s never had to carry a film. In Buried however, his acting ability is what makes the film. The tight writing and directing of course give Reynolds a firm foundation, but if we don’t believe that Reynolds character Conroy is really struggling with his predicament, then the film is sunk.
Fortunately after after watching Buried you’ll come away with a new respect for Reynolds, and you’ll also be wanting to keep and eye out for Director Rodrigo Cortes and writer Chris Sparling.
Utilising just the dark confines of the coffin, along with a cell phone a small group of voices to interact with, Buried at first confuses you, pretty much in the same way that Conroy is confused. We just don’t get why he’s buried or what the point is. Soon after it dawns on you that the entire film is actually going to be solely based in this roughly made coffin. There is a moment of concern that the director may have bitten off more than he can chew.
But he hasn’t.
Things start to slowly fall into place and the pace picks up surprisingly quickly until you’re almost as short for breath as Conroy is.
Without wanting to ay too much more, mainly because I don’t want to ruin any of the twists, I will say that Buried is one of the most emotionally fueled, tightly woven thrillers that I have seen for some time.
If possible, watch it in a dark room, with a set of quality headphones – you’ll really want to hear the audio on this one.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read