‘Buried’ is perhaps one of the most emotionally uncomfortable films you will see this year. The idea of walking out of the theater due to its inherent claustrophobic visuals might cross your mind, but try to stay to the end because it will extract an abstruse, if not, enraged reaction from you. You won’t recognize yourself after seeing the final scenes of this movie. You will be an emotionally wreck!
The premise is extremely intriguing. The very first frame has American truck driver, Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds), waking up in a coffin six feet underground in Irak. He’s in utter blackness, silence and barely able to breath, but he isn’t ready to die. But with no idea of who put him there or why, life for the family man instantly becomes a hellish struggle for survival. Buried with only a cell phone and a lighter, his contact with the outside world and ability to piece together clues that could help him discover his location are maddeningly limited. Poor reception, a rapidly draining battery, and a dwindling oxygen supply become his worst enemies in a tightly confined race against time. Fighting panic, despair and delirium, Paul Conroy has only ninety minutes to be rescued before his worst nightmare comes true.
It is rare in today’s Hollywood spectrum to see a film acted by only one person and Ryan Reynolds pulls it of brilliantly. He had a lot of help from Spanish director Rodrigo Cortés who provides constricted, suffocating shots that’ll make you cringe several times.
If Cortés and Reynolds set out to achieve a film that will stir up your emotions, then I must admit they did a masterful job. I left the screening speechless and unable to formulate or utter an immediate opinion on the film for days. The subtextual, inherently moral and political conflicts the film brings forth questions your very outlook of the world today. Buried is a visceral and powerful film that you will not be able to shake off long after you leave the theater. If that’s not the principal reason you go to the movies, then I don’t know what is.
The one moment where the credibility of the movie suffers is a snake scene that just seemed too random to take seriously. It was obviously inserted to prevent any monotony the pacing could have encountered.
Nevertheless, if Hitchcock were alive today, I truly do believe, he would have indulged in directing this film. I think Cortés and Reynolds pulled off a difficult film to entertain people with. Let’s now see if Danny Boyle’s version with James Franco, ‘127 Hours,’ is better!