Pin It
Favorite

Boxed In 

If all you need for your movie is one great actor, you can skimp on the set.

click to enlarge This isn’t a rock concert, Ryan. You’re about to die.
  • This isn’t a rock concert, Ryan. You’re about to die.

Buried opens on a black screen. Soon, there’s a bit of light, from a Zippo, and we discover ourselves trapped in a rough wooden coffin with Paul Conroy. He’s bloodied, gagged and terrified. He can barely move.

Then he starts to scream. And all you can think at first is: That Zippo flame is using up a lot of O2. So is the screaming ...

Some movies end up painting themselves into a corner; Buried opens there. And damned if it doesn’t stay there. The entire film takes place within the tiny confines of this coffin, and Ryan Reynolds — suddenly deeply thrilling as an actor — is the only face on the screen. Soon you’re feeling as boxed-in as Paul is, because this is one of the most horrific, most sickeningly claustrophobic cinematic experiences you’ll ever have.

There is no musical score. There is no CGI, no effects. There is only Paul, alone and scared. And when I say that the film has, as its premise, painted itself into a corner, I mean that only physically. Part of the marvelously nail-biting suspense here comes not merely from worrying for Paul — whether he will get out of the coffin — but in wondering just how the hell screenwriter Chris Sparling and Rodrigo Cortes can up the ante from here, as a film must do. How can things possibly get worse for Paul?

They can, and do. Soon, we learn — no spoilers here — it is October 2006, and Paul is a contractor in Iraq: not a soldier of fortune, just a truck driver. His convoy was ambushed, and he has been kidnapped by Iraqis who demand ransom for his release. He knows this because they’ve left a cell phone in the coffin. Cruelly, it is at Paul’s feet, with hardly any room to move or maneuver to actually get at it. At least it provides a bit of non-oxygen-consuming light — or at least it will for as long as the half-burned-through battery lasts….

Buried is a grueling experience — Reynolds makes Paul’s terror so palpable it becomes almost unbearable. It’s also a thrilling experience: We rarely see movies this adventurous or creative with their narratives, plots and characters. Buried left me feeling unnerved and itchy, and I haven’t been able to shake the sensation yet.

Tags:

  • Pin It

Latest in Film

  • The Big One
  • The Big One

    San Andreas pits The Rock against an earthquake, and you know who's gonna win
    • May 27, 2015
  • Manifest Destiny
  • Manifest Destiny

    Michael Fassbender gives us the spirit of golden-age Eastwood in Slow West
    • May 27, 2015
  • Happily Ever After?
  • Happily Ever After?

    Tomorrowland's fantastical vision of the future may leave you wanting more — or less
    • May 20, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu

All of today's events | Staff Picks

or

More by Maryann Johanson

  • Desert Rage
  • Desert Rage

    Mad Max: Fury Road will restore your faith in action movies
    • May 13, 2015
  • Good Goes Bad
  • Good Goes Bad

    The Avengers have to fight themselves in the CGI-happy Age of Ultron
    • Apr 29, 2015
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Band to Watch 2015: LOOMER

    How two children of the nineties embraced the decade
    • May 20, 2015
  • Desert Rage

    Mad Max: Fury Road will restore your faith in action movies
    • May 13, 2015
  • More »

© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation