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A 2010 movie directed by Rodrigo Cortes.

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3 ½ Stars: Trapped In BLACKEST NIGHT....!

  • Jan 21, 2011
…Nope, this is not a review on the upcoming Ryan Reynolds “Green Lantern” flick but a review on “Buried”. Sorry!!

There are three things that always serve me a nice spice of terror. Reality (as in it can happen), hopelessness and above all helplessness. I think helplessness is a more powerful element in human horror, since being helpless means that you can do nothing to help your cause; you can only depend on those around you to get you out of your bad situation. Well, director Rodrigo Cortes has made a horror-thriller built on beautiful simplicity in the film “Buried”. It is a 90+ minute ride of nail-biting intense claustrophobic thrills that happens a few feet underground…inside a coffin. Movies that portray the rescue efforts in a situation like this has been done before, but we’ve never seen the victim’s side of the fence.

Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) is a supply truck driver working in Iraq who had just woken up to see himself in a real scary situation. He finds himself in a small enclosed space in pitch black darkness, buried in a coffin somewhere in Iraq. Left with a lighter, a couple of glow sticks, some incidental items and a cell phone, Paul tries to find a way to get himself rescued as he calls government agencies, his family and his employer. His cries for help grow increasingly desperate as Paul has to contend with dwindling oxygen and the added pressure of the Terrorists who put him under the ground, as they demand a ransom to be paid.

                       Ryan Reynolds as Paul Conroy in "Buried."

                      Ryan Reynolds as Paul Conroy in "Buried."

Fear factor is what drives “Buried”. The film is a series of phone calls, mounting hazards and the panic of being buried alive inside a small space in a race against time. Cortes is a filmmaker who is dedicated to this idea and it is refreshing to see him go into the psyche of a man who had fallen as the victim for a terrorist ransom demand. What would you do if you were in this situation? Who would you call? I am trying to avoid spoilers but Cortes goes deep into the mind of his one character as the viewer is brought to understand the gravity of Paul’s situation and at the same time portraying his supposed “rescuers“ to not take his situation seriously enough. Others are shown on the other side of the phone calls; some try to comfort, some try to stall and to wash their hands, while others express indifference and ignorance. The script and the direction knew what they were going for; build suspense and terror until the viewer is left gasping for air as the main character.

This is Ryan Reynolds’ show. I’ve always thought the actor had some skill even when it came from his roles in “Van Wilder” and “Waiting”. Reynolds is flying solo, and about 99.9 % of the film happens inside a coffin. I may even go as far to say that this may be the best one-man performance I’ve seen since “Moon”. He has a pretty restricted space and he felt really cramped inside a coffin and almost as if Cortes just left him a camera for him to maneuver inside the wooden box. He twitches, he turns about, he cries, and flips over; all in a manner to display every possible emotion when one is in this very situation. The actor displays a lot of range in the one-man portrayal of extreme emotional distress; panic, fear, frustration, grief and maybe even guilt are all in exposition. I would love to have seen how the director pulled off these shots in a near pitch black environment.

                        Ryan Reynolds as Paul Conroy in "Buried."

                       Ryan Reynolds as Paul Conroy in "Buried."

Cortes makes the film a visual experience as the film comes up with some simple tricks to keep the viewer invested in its panic-inducing script. A cell phone call here and there, the lighter dies out only to be re-lit, a cell phone rings to give some hope of rescue, some heart-breaking moments as Paul tries to connect and the hazards of the situation itself keep the film moving and I was invested most of the way. I wondered how much a director could do with this premise in a 90 plus minute flick, but Cortes pulls it off in almost real-time precision. Despite some spots that felt a little heavy-handed and some parts of the dialogue faltered a bit, I found myself rooting for Paul all the way; I was really fearing for his survival and I was hoping to see him get out of this situation. There is a limited supporting cast and two of them is an Iraq crisis situation agent (Robert Paterson) and the representative of Paul’s employer (Stephen Tobolowsky) and they all form a dynamic form of chemistry with Reynolds.

I suppose I should stop here. I’ve already spoiled the movie by saying that Paul was stuck in a coffin (but hey, I thought it was fairly obvious in the ads and trailer). Paul is a man in a very scary situation and thanks to the people who are in the outside world, his rescue seems farther and farther away from reality. Seems like people are more concerned with covering their butts when they are faced with someone with a stark situation. It‘s almost like “teasing”, the more you see Paul desperate for a rescue, the more bureaucracy he encounters; and this type of pessimism will not doubt anger some viewers and it is an inscrutability that feels real. “Buried” is a film whose success relies on inducing claustrophobia and mounting helplessness; that plays with the uselessness of hope. I applaud the direction by Cortes as he manages to keep the film relentless with its intentions and it never backed down.

Recommended! [3 ½ Out of 5 Stars]

Poster art for "Buried" Poster art for "Buried."

3 ½ Stars: Trapped In BLACKEST NIGHT....!

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January 23, 2011
Excellent review WP, I'll be seeing this one in a day or 2 with my Bro over at his place. Also the voting is acting up again, I'll come by again and re-vote.
January 23, 2011
make sure you report it via feedback.
January 21, 2011
There have been a few TV shows that used this premise. It makes for suspenseful viewing when done right. Not sure why they picked Reynolds though.
January 23, 2011
Yeah, I am trying the remember that movie where the wife had 6 hours to live inside a coffin. Surprisingly, Reynolds did a great job with the concept.
April 12, 2011
oh, they probably picked Reynolds because they knew they would "Beware his power, Green Lantern's light!" Ok, I am shutting up now... LOL!
More Buried reviews
review by . March 11, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****     The last time I saw a movie opening as cool as the one in "Buried" was when I looked upon the super-awesome opening to "Vacancy", which sadly lead to an ultimately mediocre film. I kind of expected that to happen with "Buried"; and then again I kind of didn't. I wasn't exactly thrilled about being locked in a coffin with Ryan Reynolds for a little over an hour and a half, but the film is much more than the premise suggests. The genius behind "Buried" is that …
review by . October 31, 2010
Paul Conroy, a private contractor, working as a truck driver in Iraq, wakes up after an ambush to discover he is inside a wooden coffin buried beneath the desert sand. He has nothing but a lighter, a flask with whiskey, some pills and a cell phone provided to him by his captors. He begins to make desperate calls for help as time drags on and his situation becomes more and more dire.    This is the premise (and a large portion of the plot) of BURIED, an independent film from Spain, …
review by . September 25, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
95 minutes in a box
BURIED   Written by Chris Sparling   Directed by Rodrigo Cortes   Starring Ryan Reynolds      Jabir: You are terrified so I am terrorist?      I suspect claustrophobia likely affects more people than actually realize it.  Feeling trapped without any real means of escape, either physically or metaphorically, is certainly something we can all agree is unpleasant at the least.  In extreme cases, your breath gets short and …
review by . April 12, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
 Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) is an American truck driver that is working as a contractor in Irag in 2006, and one day he wakes up to nothing but pitch darkness. He feels around trying to figure out where he is, and with a lighter lights up to what he finds is a wooden coffin. As anyone would Paul begins to panic, and has starts screaming and banging on the sides of the coffin. Then he hears this buzzing noise and the coffin lights up, and Paul realizes it is a phone that someone has planted …
review by . December 01, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
      If you're trying to get away from a deadly trap chances to fail are incredibly high. If you're trying to breathe the same air that you "burn" you're seriously out of time. And if you're trying to make a phone call to your loved ones be sure that you'll hardly get them home. These are some so-called "getaway theories" that I noticed from watching this movie. None of them I consider to be fresh news though. But was that a problem for …
Quick Tip by . October 16, 2010
Anyone looking for a little more insight into how BURIED was made should check out my interview with Ryan Reynolds and director, Rodrigo Cortes ..
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About this movie


Buried is an upcoming Spanish-Australia-American indie thriller-horror film directed by Rodrigo Cortés. It stars Ryan Reynolds, Anne Lockhart and Ivana Miño.

Paul Conroy, a truck driver, awakens buried alive six feet underground with nothing but a lighter, a knife and a cell phone. Although he has no idea as to how he got there, he soon starts to remember what has happened to him.

  • Buried is a 2010 thriller film directed by RodrigoCortés. It stars Ryan Reynolds, Anne Lockhart and Ivana Miño.
    The film revolves around Iraq-based American truck driver Paul Conroy (Reynolds), who, after being attacked by a group of Iraqis, finds himself buried alivein a wooden coffin, with only a lighter and a mobile phone to help him escape before the oxygen in the coffin runs out. Since its premiere at the Sundance FilmFestival, the film has generated considerable acclaim.
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    Movies, Action Movies, Suspense, Mystery, Thriller, Ryan Reynolds, Ivana Mino, Jose Luis Garcia Perez, Rodrigo Cortes, Robert Paterson


    Director: Rodrigo Cortés
    Genre: Mystery
    Release Date: 8 October 2010 (USA)
    MPAA Rating: R
    Screen Writer: Chris Sparling
    Runtime: 1hr 34min
    Studio: Versus Entertainment
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    "95 minutes in a box"
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