It’s a whole lot of Ryan Reynolds this week when he gets Buried as a US contractor imprisoned in a coffin in one of the more innovative thrillers to hit theaters in recent years. But does the claustrophobic setting increase the tension or just make the film feel trapped?
Note from the Editor: I entirely disagree with this review, you an read my Sundance review now. But in case some of you want a different perspective, keep reading.)
Check out the review below to find out…
- Director: Rodrigo Cortés
- Writer: Chris Sparling
- Cast: Ryan Reynolds
After a group of Iraqi soldiers attacks his work site a Paul Conroy (Reynolds), a US Contractor, finds himself buried alive in a coffin. With only a lighter and a dying cell phone to communicate with the outside world, Paul must try to save himself from his claustrophobic prison.
- Several Moments: That’s about all this movie does deliver: A series of moments. Moments where it looks like the story will turn in an interesting direction. Moments where it appears we’ll learn something about the film’s main character. Moments where the movie looks like it will transcend its gimmicky premise. Keep in mind these are only moments, and the good in this movie comes few and far between.
- The Lack of Characterization: There is only one person on screen this entire movie. One. Single. Person. You’d think over the course of 90 minutes we might learn something of depth about the only character we see during an entire film, but we only learn the following three things: His name, that he has a wife, and that he doesn’t want to die. We pretty much learn those three little nuggets within the first minute as well, which means throughout the rest of the story we’re stuck with the same character attempting to overcome the same obstacle and with the same goal. No journey, no revelations, just a character that remains stuck in the same place – both literally and figuratively.
- The Ending: Not going to give a hint of a spoiler about the ending, except to say that it caused an entire screening room to erupt in uproarious laughter. And it wasn’t in the least intended to be humorous in any way whatsoever.
- The Gimmick: This movie relies entirely upon a gimmick for its hook: That it takes place entirely inside a coffin. That claustrophobic setting does little to heighten the drama of the situation; instead it just causes it to languish as we’re forced to imagine the excitement happening outside the coffin. This could have worked were we given insight into the character in a way that put us in his place, a psychological thriller that gave us the same trapped feeling of its lead. We don’t get that with this film as Garcia presents laying on your back underground as a harrowing adventure in way that keeps his character at a distance and the film a forgettable spectacle.
Buried is a cheap gimmick of a movie. It ignores story and character in a way that is so brazen it seems that it wasn’t even a factor in its creation, that the filmmakers were so in love with their flat premise that nothing else mattered. The result of this is a movie so devoid of empathy that at its you don’t even care about its character’s fate, only that we learn what it is at some point. When you don’t care about the only character in a movie there’s something wrong. And with Buried, there’s more than one thing wrong.
Buried opens in limited release September 24th and nationwide October 8th.