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As a recently published writer myself, I have come to really appreciate good writing and in Buried, I was singularly impressed with the way the writers were able to carry off an almost two hour film with just the use of one single actor.
When this was first released, it is fair to say I did not have high hopes for it. It is also fair to say it really did not pique my interest, but the other night, with nothing else on, I finally succumbed to watching it.
Paul Conway is a truck driver in Iraq. The film opens with him waking up, trapped in a box, buried underground. The only thing in there with him, or so he at first believes, being a cell phone - apparently belonging to one of the terrorists who put him there. Over the course of several phone calls, eventually Paul manages to get hold of the American Embassy, who assure him they are doing their best to find him.
But time is running out...and people keep putting him on hold.
This is probably Ryan Reynolds best role to date and it is due in no small part to his capability as an actor that he is able to pull this off convincingly. At no point does the tension let up, so for the duration of the film, the viewer is left sitting on the edge of their seat.
This is a very clever film that works on a number of levels. Not only is it a terse and gripping thriller, but it also has a lot to say about the war on terror, the affect this has on civilians working in such hostile environments and even manages to question just what makes a terrorist anyway.
Though it won't be for some, I really really really enjoyed this and thought it one of the best and well written films I have seen to date!
I would never have said initially that the plot would've worked, or that it would manage to hook me for so long.
I am pleased to say I was wrong!
Release date: 2010, Run time: 95 minutes, Genre: Psychological Thriller.
Film only review as watched via netflix.
Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) is an American man working as truck driver in Iraq. His truck is attacked and Paul loses consciousness. He awakes inside a small wooden coffin buried under ground. He has with him a pen, cell phone and a lighter. How did he get here? Why is he here? And will he ever get out?
A concise plot synopsis because that is essentially what the film is about. It is ninety five minutes of being confined to a wooden with Ryan Reynolds. There are many who loath Ryan Reynolds but I am not one of them- I like him because he is pretty and he does comic book movies, shallow reasoning but true and on that premise I didn't expect him to be able to pull off an intense movie like this but I think he did and I think he did it well. The audience are with the character of Paul Conroy for the whole run time and so I think for an actor to keep the audience not just awake but gripped is a talent so credit where it's due.
Another factor in this film's ability to keep you engaged is the excellent camera work (Eduard Grau), script (Chris Sparling) and directing (Rodrigo Cortez). Rodrigo, Cortez and crew have used the common fear of being buried alive and mixed it with political messages, comments on war and the question of how much is one's life really worth? There is an awful lot of 'red-tape' involved in being buried alive and we share Paul's frustration as he hits each brick wall in his attempts to be rescued. As I watched this there was a lot of gasping for air and sharp intakes of breath as certain events unfolded. I got angry and I got upset. If you are the analytical type (as I am) it is a film what makes you question society and the world we live in- cleverly done as throughout the film we never see the outside world.
I really enjoyed this film my only problem with it is that the speech isn't overly clear, you really have to strain to listen to the telephone calls. Another point of contention for me is that I hate television that happens in real time. I get so frustrated but this is less of a problem in films such as this and once I got involved in the storyline the frustration added to the effect. It takes a while to get into the film but persevere as it is more than worth it.
It is difficult to review this film without giving too much away. It is the sort of film where you are better to know nothing and watch as events unfold. The film heavily relies on it's ability to shock the audience and it is hard to anticipate what is going to happen so I will leave you to discover this yourselves. What I will say is that I was stunned, shocked and moved to tears throughout this film and if you like 'thinkers' I would completely recommend this film to you. It isn't a jam packed-everything exploding-car chase type of action thriller but it is very powerful and portrays it's intended messages very well. I really enjoyed it and I was speechless and holding my breath by the end.
RELEASED: 2010, Cert.15
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 95 mins
DIRECTOR: Rodrigo Cortes
PRODUCERS: Adrian Guerra & Peter Safran
SCREENPLAY: Chris Sparling
MUSIC: Victor Reyes
MAIN CHARACTER: Ryan Reynolds as Paul Conroy
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Whilst working as a delivery driver in Iraq in 2006, American trucker Paul Conroy wakes up to find himself gagged, tied up and buried alive in a makeshift coffin constructed of wooden slats.
All Paul has with him is a cell phone and a cigarette lighter.
Baffled as to how he got to be in this situation, Paul's memory of what happened gradually returns and he recalls he and his colleagues being ambushed.
Using the limited memory available in his mobile phone, Paul attempts to contact various people in the USA, such as family and friends....even the FBI....trying to make people aware of what's happened to him, desperate to secure his release.
Frustrated at getting through to people's answering machines, and having to contend with red tape from the FBI, Paul learns that his Iraqi kidnapper is demanding a huge ransom, which will be reduced if he (Paul) successfully completes several tasks from inside the underground wooden coffin. Failure to confirm will result in members of his family being killed, and him being left to die.
The idea of being trapped underground with no way out is one of my worst fears, and it is that which drew me to watching this film, curious as to how the storyline would be handled.
From the beginning until a fair way through the film, I wanted to scream at Paul to stop wasting the little bit of air he had access to, and to be very careful so as to conserve the charge in his cell phone. In the same situation, I feel that I would have tried certain escape methods that he didn't appear to....I won't say what they are here, as to explain may evolve into a spoiler.
Ryan Reynolds' acting wasn't too bad, but for me his speech was for the most part, so very indistinct that I wasn't able to get a firm grip on what was going on in his mind, or the true content of his frenzied phone conversations. The people he was speaking to on his cell phone also may just as well have been speaking Swahili for all the sense I could make of it....which leads me to an ongoing question that I often ask inside of my head when watching certain films....why on earth do people not speak clearly? The only person I could clearly understand was an Englishman who Paul was intermittently conversing with...he came across as totally audible, so why not everybody else?
I actually found most of this film pretty boring, to say the least. A couple of things also didn't ring true for me, such as Paul using his cigarette lighter for illumination. I'm pretty sure that the fuel inside of the lighter would have run out long before it did, plus the lighter, being made of metal, would have been too hot for Paul to keep holding in the way that he did.
I do appreciate that it must be very difficult to construct a meaningful film where there is only one main character who is stuck inside of a small wooden box, several feet underground, but I don't feel that in this instance it was handled in the best possible way. I would much have preferred to - rather than all the screaming and shouting (which of course I understand comes from panic) have been privy to Paul's inner thoughts, spoken in narrative.
The musical score did irritate me in parts. Some of it is avant-garde type sounds comprised of bangs, pops, clicks and percussive weirdities...which is very OK....but there are other parts where it becomes orchestrated and is far too loud, drowning out the dialogue which is already difficult enough to comprehend.
I did pretty much yawn through most of Buried, but am glad that it didn't drag on any longer, as I simply wouldn't have been able to continue watching.
I do feel that Buried would come across far, far better in novel format, as for me it isn't really a situation and storyline that rests well put into film, especially in the way that it has been constructed.
However, I would imagine that despite my own very definite misgivings, Buried could appeal to a lot of people who like a good action thriller, even though the action all takes place inside of an underground coffin. It just didn't hit my own spot though, and failed to move me in any direction at all. The only feeling I experienced whilst watching, was boredom.
At the time of writing, Buried can be purchased on Amazon as follows:-
New: from £3.28 to £13.08
Used: from 84p to £8.85
Collectible: One copy currently available @ £6.50
A delivery charge of £1.26 should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Star - Ryan Reynolds
Run Time - 95 minutes
Genre - USA/Spain
Genre - Thriller
Cert - 15
So, what male actor would like to be in a film that he's the only person in it, the lens on him all the time and trapped in a box with that cameraman, all hot and sticky and so he has to take his shirt off? Yep, Ryan Reynolds! He has to be Hollywood's vainest actor by far and certainly one of the worse (Ben Affleck still well ahead of him though), only allowed up on screen because the beauty council have agreed that he is too handsome for normal manual work in a factory. Read that pal and smile at the camera. Ok, you're now a movie star! Apparently he was fledgling director Rodrigo Cortes first and only pick for this. I suspect it was Rodrigo Cortes only choice as the film would not have been made without him. If I was on set I would be sitting on the box lid.
Buried is an ambitious film to say the least by Cortés, totally reliant on Reynolds presence to keep the viewer interested for the whole of the equally ambitious 95 minutes. Writer Chris Sparling also has to be on his best game with only one visual actor and a cell phone to the outside world involved. It's an interesting idea though and with Cortes saying he drew inspiration from Hitchcock movies like 'Rope' and 'Lifeboat' there is wriggle room in his box for this to work. You have to admire guys who take risks and battle against convention; yes I can make this work type attitude.
Ryan Reynolds ... Paul Conroy
José Luis García Pérez ... Jabir (voice)
Robert Paterson ... Dan Brenner (voice)
Erik Palladino ... Special Agent Harris (voice)
Stephen Tobolowsky ... Alan Davenport (voice)
Samantha Mathis ... Linda Conroy (voice)
Warner Loughlin ... Maryanne Conroy / Donna Mitchell / Rebecca Browning (voice)
A man (Ryan Reynolds) awakens in a coffin like wooden box, no light and air to speak off, his mouth gagged and immediate panic ensuing as he franticly claws and screams at his apparent tomb. With Zippo in hand he manages to grab some sort of mental control of his critical situation and disorientation but the flame burning up that valuable oxygen.
When a mobile phone chirps to life below his bound feet it suddenly brings welcome light, noise and hope to his claustrophobic situation, an Arabic sounding man called Jabir (José Luis García Pérez) on the end of the line quickly dispelling that hope, informing the man (as we soon learn is Paul Conroy, an America contractor driving trucks in Iraq) that unless he comes up with two million dollars and does a proof of like kidnap video on the phone he won't be leaving that box anytime soon.
The phone supplied with other bits and bobs are now his slim chance of survival, immediately calling his wife Linda (Samantha Mathis, who also appeared in a film where she was buried alive) and various other people to let the authorities know of his perilous plight, the battery running down as quick as his oxygen. His contractors contact the military and his hostage negotiator calls back, Special Agent Harris (the voice of Erik Palladino) his appointed handler, encouraging him to find what information he can from his prison, however small that is. But this is a blue-collar guy buried under Iraq who can never raise that money, his employers as equally reticent about his chances and informing him his insurance policy may not be valid, and with the air running out and the dirt starting to trickle in to the box it looks grim for the truck driver from Ohio.
Playing a character buried underneath the ground, Ryan Reynolds reveals that when it comes to acting 'he's all surface and no depth'. Ok, I stole that line but it sums up how I feel about this guy, rather appropriately his acting skills deployed in a wooden box. There was a suggestion of an Oscar nomination for the film but the nail couldn't attend the ceremony. Saying that it does hook you in early on and the tension and the ability of the director to keep you intrigued by such a small space (the coffin, not Ryan Reynolds brain) makes the film fly by, a sign of a good film technician. It was genuinely quite tense stuff and Cortés doesn't back down on where the film is going and the chances of Reynolds getting through his ordeal as the military close in on his location.
Whether there is some sort of Iraq War metaphor going on here of America drowning in the sand out there is left to interpretation but it certainly doesn't resort to cliché. Most peoples fear of death in an enclose space with no way out is tweaked hard here and if you do suffer from panic attacks then its short sharp breaths time (breathing in the bag doesn't work). For its $1million budget it did a healthy $19 million back making it one of the most profitable films of last year, Rodrigo Cortés a real talent.
It was shot in just 17 days in Barcelona and seven coffins were used, all in the camera lighting and sound for this to have any credibility, no booms or clapperboards glimpsed. There is space in the taught narrative to twang some jokes off with a particularly good call-centre one that made me chuckle, stolen from Transformers 2, I believe. It never lets up in all its intentions and so worth your time, doing exactly what it says on the box, if you will excuse the pun.
It's interesting to see the online critics were split on this one. They loved it for its technical achievement and Hitchcock tension but the online audience was not so hot on it, perhaps feeling this was merely a stretched short film with a Hollywood name in it. That's the way I felt. But it works and so fair play to all concerned. Be warned though, you may get splinters off Reynolds performance, definitely one to catch on TV.
Imdb.com - 7.1/10.0 (55,450 votes)
Metacritic.com - 65%/ critic's approval rating (70% user's approval)
Rottentomatos.com - 86% critic's approval rating (64% user's approval)
The Daily Telegraph - "There's something faintly quixotic about a filmmaker who, faced with technical limitations in a script, chooses to embrace them rather than fight them. Such is the case with Buried, an uncompromising suspense thriller from Spanish director Rodrigo Cortés"
The News of the World - "It's kind of like if Saw were a one-man show in a tiny theater".
NY Post - "Reynolds takes suffering for your art to unimaginable new depths in this truly underground chiller. As he excels at reaching into the theater and grabbing viewer minds. Which gives a radically new meaning to the notion of being embedded in a war zone"
Empire Magazine - "A brutally intense indie that commits to its bleak premise and doesn't back down. Tarantino will cackle as he watches".
The Seattle Bugle - "If the aim is to be unpredictable and to revel in cynicism, you run the risk -- realized here -- that the movie becomes more an authorial statement of purpose than a story the audience can believe in".
Behind the scene (the coffin) stuff.
The director and writer and Reynolds talk about their film.
- Story -
Paul Conroy is an American working as a truck driver in Iraq when him and his team is ambushed and he falls unconscious. The film starts as he slowly wakes up in the pitch dark, quickly realising he's in a confined space he locates his cigarette lighter to discover, to his horror, that he seems to be in a wooden coffin, buried underground. He discovers a Blackberry smartphone and knowing there's only a finite amount of oxygen, he realises that he'll have to get to work quickly to try and get someone above ground to find him before its too late but how easy is it to call for help when you have no idea where you've been buried? who did this to him and will they come back for him? you'll have to watch the movie to find out.
- Thoughts & Opinions -
*Again I feel I should note that there are a few minor spoilers present in this section of my review - if you don't want any clues to scenes or any hints towards what may happen in the movie then it might be best to skip to the 'would I recommend it?' section, though I don't feel that reading this section should spoil the movie entirely but all the same, count this as a warning if small spoilers really irk you (I leave a gap befoe starting the section so you don't accidentally read something you may not wish to - this is based on preferences stated in comments to some of my previous reviews)*
This is clearly a very claustrophobic movie (as if that really needs to be said(!)), though it can make you jump as it starts off quite slowly and there are a couple of points when suddenly things start to happen and there's a panic - you don't really expect it and suddenly its alot more claustrophobic than it was before - with the lights turned off and the curtains drawn, its easy to be drawn into Pauls world, to feel his panic and I found myself also almost desperately darting my eyes around the screen to see if there was a way out for him, so in that way you do become rather drawn in to the whole situation. I could almost feel slightly out of breath myself and it certainly makes me greatful for being safe at home(!) and not in his position.
Its a pretty basic concept but it does seem to work for the duration of the movie, its perhaps a little slow but then I think in this case, its a good thing as it makes the other, more gripping scenes alot more intense. Its quite gripping watching, although it isn't without its flaws, of which I feel there's a few, depending on how picky you are these may make or break the movies validity -
1) The fact that the Blackberry phone he was buried with a happens to have decent signal the majority of the time (I have a Blackberry and reception is often a problem and I've never been buried under ground lol I hear its a big issue with almost all smartphones - they need a stronger signal than basic handsets to be able to work properly and especially to upload and download data and the fact that he tended to be calling people in the US, how many thousands of miles away from his current location in Iraq - hmmm, it makes you wonder!). I noticed when data was transferred, it seemed to happen surprisingly quickly and although the battery life does go down, I just felt it was a bit unlikely that it would have worked as well as was portrayed, in 'real life'. I also thought it was a bit strange that the phone had islamic writing/characters displayed yet the buttons were marked in English (such as 'yes' and 'no' buttons etc.) - is this how it would be in life? I have no idea but I did wonder about that a little...
2) The cheesiness/possibly over-acting present - for women, you'll probably want to have some tissues to hand, as there are the almost staple for this kind of movie teary eyed phone calls to Paul's loved ones, the awkward final conversation to his mother who clearly has some sort of dementia or alzheimers and Paul recording a message where he makes an apology to his son - thats all I'll say but yes, its perhaps a bit overly, predictably cheesy in a way that may make male viewers roll their eyes - again it depends on how picky you are but these are my thoughts anyway.
As I said, its a pretty basic concept storywise, really its a case of one man and his phone and there are quite a few different people that Paul tries to communicate with, as it happens its pretty important to keep track of the names, although it does get a bit confusing, if your like me and find it difficult to remember many names (im better at recognising faces but not surprisingly there aren't many faces visible in this movie - there aren't even flashbacks in the movie).
I felt that the use of the lighting was quite good, that was pretty believable because of course its an issue, if you imagine someone being buried with no lighting, the screen would be blank pretty much the entire time and that would be no real cinematic experience, right? at least I don't think people would be too keen on that anyway... yet its not full of lighting where your left wondering where is this light coming from as he is buried feet below the surface - so, I think it was fairly believable how they handled that aspect, which is good. Indeed the camerawork is also pretty good, in those ways its, like other movies I've reviewed recently, quite similar to the Blair Witch project, the camerawork being realistically shaky and in one instance it fades out in a way to highlight Paul's state of mind at that time in the movie.
Overall this is a very claustrophobic movie that works in a sort of drip by drip way - it builds up towards an ending which seems quite thrilling and could be seen as either good or disappointing, again this will depend on your point of view but of course I wouldn't want to give it away. The movie is roughly an hour and 35 minutes long and I didn't feel that it was too long or too short, the durating being about right. Ryan Reynolds seems pretty believable in the role of Paul, although it could be said that he maybe overacts a bit in it but then who's to say how you would act if you were in his shoes, so perhaps its a bit harsh of me to say that(?).
- Would I Recommend It? -
Yes, I'd recommend this movie as I felt it was quite gripping towards the end, I was quite absorbed by it and I found the story (basic as it was) quite intriguing, wanting to find out the final outcome, which will no doubt have divided opinions in terms of how satisfying or not it was. This isn't a movie for people who have issues with claustrophobia I think its pretty fair to say (which should be obvious but again, I may as well mention it anyway) and there are one or two scenes which make you want to look away and wonder if he's really going to do what it seems he will, so I don't think its advisable for very squeamish people to watch either but yes, its a pretty good movie otherwise I think. Yes there are some flaws as well, which I highlighted in the previous section of this review but I didn't feel like they ruined the movie for me, they were more like afterthoughts really, I think.
Thanks for reading my review, I hope you found it useful and thanks for any and all rates and comments. This review was originally posted on Ciao UK.
This is a Film only review. No spoilers contained!
After reading two separate reviews on this film I became quite intrigued and put this on my little list of films to watch. I couldn't imagine how it would be possible to create a whole film based in just one location, let alone a coffin, and with only one character?
I wanted to see the film for myself. Would I find the film captivating? Would Ryan Reynolds, as the only actor, be a good enough actor to pull off such a film? How did the producers manage to make this low budget film a success? Would I find the film believable?
I was also happy that it was a short film, only 95 minutes long, as sometimes I can be put off watching films that are too long, especially after a long day at work.
A brief summary of the plot-
Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) is a U.S. citizen who has been working as a truck driver in Iraq. One day he is attacked by Iraqis, who then leave him buried alive in the desert, in a coffin like box. (This information is revealed throughout the film via phone conversations)
Paul only has access to a number of items to help him survive, including a mobile phone, lighter and a pen.
With lack of air and limited resources, Will he be able to escape this living nightmare?
My thoughts on the film-
I had recently gone through a phase of watching lots of Rom-Com's so it was quite refreshing to watch a film from a different genre. I would class this as a thriller/horror film.
I watched this film with my partner. It took us about 10-15 minutes to get into the film, mainly due to the fact that my two year old was still awake, and making noises, so there was lots of pausing and rewinding at the beginning, but he soon had a little nap, and we were able to view the rest of the film uninterrupted.
As the film is based in one setting, with one character, there is a very personal vibe to the film. I felt great empathy for the character and I found myself willing him to escape, but how could he? Would it be possible?
There were highs and lows throughout the film. Moments where you feel there is hope that 'Paul' will escape, followed by crushing blows and the realisation that maybe he wouldn't escape.
It was so sad near the end of the film when 'Paul' went through a stage where he thought he was going to die. He used his phone to make a 'goodbye' video message for his wife and young son. Can you imagine how hard it would be to make a leaving message to your loved ones? At this point I literally had tears in my eyes and a huge lump in my throat!
During the ending of the film my partner and I were literally sitting on the edge of the sofa! We were so engrossed in the film, it almost felt like we were viewing the fate of a friend or loved one.
I had actually made a little joke about the ending early on in the film, and I was very shocked to find that was how the film actually ended.
Some people may find the ending a little disappointing, but for me it was very thought-evoking. I feel a great film, is one that can leave an impact on you after you have watched it, whether that be a happy, warm feeling inside, or a sad reflective feeling.
Rom-com's leave me with a very happy and optimistic vibe. 'Buried' is a film that left me feeling both reflective and shell shocked.
Other people have commented on Ryan Reynolds brilliant acting, keeping you gripped though out. Whilst watching the film I found myself emphasising for his character 'Paul'. Imagining how I would feel if I were in that situation. Scared, trapped, alone and quite powerless whilst still being determined to try and escape. He is certainly a great actor, and was perfect for the role of 'Paul'.
This certainly isn't a film that you can watch casually as you plod around the living room tiding up. The film requires your full focus and attention throughout; every phone conversation reveals information that you need to hear, in order for you to understand 'Pauls' situation.
The film will not appeal to everyone. Those that love action films may not like the film, due to the very limited amount of movement/action involved in the film.
I was concerned that I may find the film a little tedious, as there are no scene changes, however I found myself fully engaged throughout the film.
However, as much as I loved watching this film, it is the kind of film that you would only watch once. I have seen the film, enjoyed watching it, but now I know the ending, I wouldn't really feel any need to watch the film again.
That being said, the film was defiantly a worthwhile watch. It certainly lived up to my expectations, and I have full admiration for everyone involved in making the film. I love the fact that I was able to feel such empathy for 'Paul'. The producers have managed to make a low-budget film into a huge success.
Since watching this film I have recommended it to my brother (who also enjoyed the film) and some friends. I would also recommend this to you!
After seeing this film advertised on its release I was very keen to see it as I love Horror/Thriller films and the idea of being buried alive truely terrifies me. So I figured that this film would make for edge of the seat viewing. It also starred Ryan Reynolds who happens to be an actor that I quite like and I was certain that any film with him in it couldn't be that bad.
The film follows U.S Truck Driver Paul Conroy (played by Ryan Reynolds) as he is buried underground in a coffin somewhere in Iraq, a "terrorist" has buried him after an ambush on the convoy of trucks he was driving in. All he has on his person is a cell phone and a lighter and the clock is ticking as he tries to find a way to get out of there! The film starts with quite an intense atmosphere as you as the viewer absorb the fact that this poor guy is buried undergound somewhere and you can really empathise with the awful and traumatic situation he is facing. I also couldn't help putting myself in his shoes and thinking how horrible it would be to be in that situation myself. I also had a real feel for how claustrophobic the scene was and I got pretty worked up for what I thought was going to be an intense and exciting film.
It is quite early on in the film when Paul discovers that there is a cell phone in the coffin with him and (rather strangely since he is underground) it has signal. The Battery on the phone is just over half full and he has the important decisions to make on who to call for help etc. and to say the least I think this guy was a total idiot with the choices he makes in who he calls, I found myself feeling very frustrated throughout the whole thing.
There are a few mildly exciting moments in the film when the situation gets even worse for this guy to deal with, for example when a snake finds its way into his coffin, and I really did stay optimistic when watching it because I really thought that there was going to be a turning point somewhere and that the excitement would really begin. I was actually watching it with my partner and all the way through I was saying to him "I'm telling you now there is going to be a big twist in this!" and much to my disappointment this didn't happen.
I obviously don't want to spoil the film for anyone who is going to watch it so I won't say what happens, but what I will say is that I was one very unsatisfied viewer when the film ended! I actually shouted "That can't be the end!" as I instantly felt annoyed at the way it had ended. There are a lot of dramatic parts in this film but there are also some ridiculous parts too which let it down. I think some people might have the totally opposite opinion to me and think that the way the film ends is really dramatic and effective, but I just thought it was a big let down.
Ryan Reynold's performance wasn't bad, he is a good actor but I just felt frustrated with some of the actions of his character in the movie! I can't comment on anyone elses acting in the film since Ryan is the only person in it! I found some of the camera shot and angles in the film really annoying too, there were parts where the "coffin" he was in looked huge and then parts when it looked tiny and chlaustrophobic which was obviously a lot more intense, but the consistency of the shots was all over the place.
I really did feel a bit disappointed after watching this film, I think I got my hopes up about it a little bit too much!
Buried tells the tale of Paul Conroy, a truck driver delivering supplies to the rebuilding effort in Iraq, who wakes to find himself trapped in a box . Finding and using a lighter, he sees that he is in fact in a coffin, buried beneath the ground. Beginning to panic, he hears a phone ringing, but is too late to answer the call. Calling the number back, he is greeted by a heavily accented voice, telling him that unless he finds someone to pay 5 million to his captors, he'll be left to die .
Armed with only his lighter, a phone (with all the menus in Arabic), a couple of glowsticks, a torch and a pencil, Paul must work to secure his release before time, and the air in his coffin runs out .
I'd heard nothing about the film, or it's premise, when we first sat down to watch it, and was bemused at first to see only darkness and silence on the screen. The darkness soon brightens into something a little less dark, but still dark enough to really give you a taste of the claustrophobic atmosphere within the box. We also very quickly get a taste of the fear Paul must be feeling, as initially he doesn't know what has happened .
Through a series of phone calls, we begin to know more about the situation - and since the film is entirely shot from inside the coffin, this is the only way we learn anything about the story . It is actually amazingly well done, with each call revealing something more about Paul as a person, or the situation he finds himself in.
The phone itself is used exceptionally well as a tension builder - lack of signal, diminishing battery bars, and the frustration of not being able to get through to the people he needs to talk to make the film quite nail-bitingly tense in places. However, the pace at the beginning of the film, despite the tension, is rather slow - but towards the end several events happen that gave me a real sense of time running out.
Ryan Reynolds is excellent - you can really get inside his head and imaging the terror, anguish, and frustration he must feel. His acting is helped along by excellent use of lighting and camera angles, and several periods of silent darkness, which stops the film from feeling flat and one dimensional, although does give the impression that this must actually be a bloody big coffin. However, with many shots being in dim light, I do think people with bad eyesight may actually lose some of the benefit.
Overall,this film is excellent - emotional, dramatic, and gripping, it it amazing that such a relatively simple plot can make for something so memorable . The ending had my boyfriend and I talking for days, and the last call from Pauls employers really surprised both of us .
I would certainly recommend this film as one worth watching . We didn't view it on DVD, so unfortunately can't comment on any extras, but to the film itself I award the full five Dooyoo stars!
It's been a while since I last posted a review, but don't worry readers I am still alive. No need to arrange my funeral just yet. Speaking of premature burials that chilling scenario is exactly what Paul Conroy, the star of Buried, has to endure. When the film begins we learn that the American truck driver has been presumably buried alive by insurgents that attacked the convey he was part of. Seeking employment in a war torn land suddenly doesn't seem like the best idea ever. Perhaps he should have stayed home and settled for something more mundane like delivering beef burger shipments to McDonalds.
What's interesting about this movie is that it is set inside the casket for the entire ninety minute duration. All we see are Paul in a dark wooden box. At no point does that action switch to the outside world. This is great for the movie company making the film as they can get away with producing this on a shoe string budget, but can this morbid idea of a story keep the audience's attention from start to finish? Well I am pleased to report that it does. I wasn't bored at all as from the very beginning I was rooting for Paul and wanting to see how things would panned out.
Paul lying in a coffin doesn't sound awfully exciting, but mercifully his captors have provided him with a mobile phone (they expect him to use it to film a hostage video asking for a ransom of five million dollars to be paid.) Aside from speaking with his captors Paul uses the phone to call his family, employers, the FBI and state department to try and arrange a rescue which isn't easy as he hasn't got a clue as to where he is. His location is a mystery as is how does that phone get a signal six feet underground? I struggle to get a clear line phoning someone at the office! Forget the I-phone, I want whatever brand Conroy is using!
What keeps the film going is Paul's impending doom. He has a limited amount of oxygen in that confined space so it's a race against time to see if he can get rescued before suffocating. In case that isn't dramatic enough the film makers keep hiking up the ante by presenting Paul with even more things to worry about. Just when you start losing interest something happens to suck you back into the story. First he realises that the phone's battery is running out. That's bad as the mobile is his only means of contacting someone to get him out. Then we have a scene were the coffin breaks and starts to fill up with sand. At one point a rattle snake even manages to dig into the underground tomb. Can't the poor guy catch a break? Also what is a rattlesnake doing in Iraq? Aren't those only found in America?
I suspect the reptile in question is a female as Paul is played by pretty boy Ryan Reynolds who is certainly popular with the ladies. I had my doubts as to whether he could pull off such a serious role as I have previously seen him in Blade Trinity and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Both those films were mindless action flicks which he spiced up with a little comedy, nothing too demanding. To his credit Reynolds does a superb job which is just as well as the success of the film is entirely on his shoulders. No matter how good the story is written, if the actor chosen is sub-par you would lose the audience as there are no flashy effects or supporting cast on screen to cover that weakness. Reynolds is entirely believable showcasing a wide range of emotions which the stressful situation of his character demanded.
Although I liked Buried I wonder if it would have worked better as a book rather than a movie. However good Reynolds is portraying the character's feelings, reading what exactly was going through Paul's mind would have added to the story. A guy trapped in a box doesn't really come across as something that would work in visual media, but the director did do a good job with what little he had to work with. Aside from the twists and turns in the story the creative use of lighting and different camera angles did help to keep my attention.
I do recommend checking out Buried although I wouldn't advise on buying the DVD. Although you will be engrossed the first time you watch it, I cannot imagine that many viewers will want to go through the distress Conroy suffers a second time round. At the end of the day it's one of those films that is a solid rental. I personally wouldn't purchase the DVD as the movie just won't have the same impact on repeated viewings. Seeing how things pan out is what sucks you in and it's just not the same once you know the finale.
Review also posted on Ciao.
I came across this in Blockbuster but I'd heard about it beforehand online and on the radio. I was curious as to the concept of a film revolving solely around a guy being buried, though I didn't really think we'd be buried alive with him for the duration. Surprisingly it wasn't a bad watch, thanks to Reynolds playing lead, but it may make those a little claustrophobic itch.
Buried was directed by Rodrigo Cortes and it has a fairly simple plot: Paul Conroy (played wonderfully by Ryan Reynolds) wakes up in a coffin-esque box underground, unsure of where he is or why he's there. We then get a bit of background information, making us aware that he's actually an American truck driver working in Iraq for a humanitarian aid initiative. His presence was obviously unwelcome because insurgents captured him and buried him alive, perhaps not fully aware that he wasn't a troop or a spy.
When Paul wakes up he's obviously terrified, and every gasp of breath makes staying alive with the limited air supply more difficult. He was, however, buried with a few objects, including a phone, lighter and pencil. The rest of the film goes through the motions as Paul tries to figure out why he's there, call for help, make a deal with those holding him hostage for ransom and try to escape.
I thought the film was actually very good quality, especially given it was probably fairly low budget (bar Reynold's pay cheque). It was well thought-out, scripted and polished, making it both watchable and believable. I got the sense of being trapped with him, empathising with his panic and fear, and being sad when he wonders if he'll ever make it home alive to those he loves. I also liked that this film wasn't too cliché, nor was it too predictable despite its basic storyline and static environment underground.
The downsides are primarily the lack of action, but then again you can't expect too much excitement or surprise being trapped inside a coffin.
Overall I would recommend this as a watch that's a bit different to the norm. It may make you itch, but it's quite gripping and Reynold's gives a performance worth seeing.
Released 2011, rated certificate 15, selling on Amazon for £6.99.
Buried is the story of Paul Conroy, an American contractor working as a driver in Iraq who is ambushed while travelling in a convoy and regains consciousness finding himself quite literally buried alive. Conroy is in a coffin buried in the desert and fortunately for watchers he has been buried with a zippo lighter and glowsticks and a mobile phone which amazingly has a fairly reliable signal so he can contact the outside world.
Conroy has a desperate struggle to reach out to find someone who can help him before the oxygen and his phone battery run out. He tries family members, 911 and his employer before getting somewhere with the FBI and the US State Department. In the meantime he is contacted by his kidnappers who demand a US $5million payout by 9pm that day and urge him to make an appeal video which the US administration advise strongly against. I won't spoil the plot for you by telling you any more about the way the film unfolds.
If I had known before watching the film that the entire film would consist of the performance of one actor inside a coffin I'm not sure I would have wanted to see it but I have to say after the opening minutes of the film I was totally transfixed and couldn't help wondering what I would do in a similar situation. Ryan Reynolds who I'd previously known only as the ex husband of Scarlett Johannsen and co-star to Sandra Bullock in the romcom The Proposal, was brilliant in the part.
Would highly recommend Buried. It has a 15 rating which seems a bit high given the content of some 12A films but must be down to some of the language the character uses when he is trying to convey the urgency of his situation to some of the people he calls - understandable given the context!!
(Film only review)
== Buried ==
The movie is set in 2006 in Iraq, Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) is a US truck driver, but after his convoy is attacked and he blacks out he suddenly awakens buried alive, bound and gagged, with only a lighter and a mobile phone. Although he first has no idea as to how he got there because he suffered a short term memory loss, he soon starts to piece together what has happened and realizes why hes here buried alive. Paul gradually remembers what happened to his convoy and friends. After finding the mobile phone buried with him in this small coffin underground, Paul attempts to get in contact with his wife and his employers who had gave him a safety number if anything like this should occur but he is only able to leave a message for both of them. Paul is able to get into contact with the FBI, but they cut off before he can explain the situation due to a bad signal with him being underground buried. However, he does realize from the questions the FBI officer asked him that he has been kidnapped. The kidnapper contacts him from this mobile phone that is left in there with him and ask for a ransom of $5m to be released alive and for no one to get hurt, but this is then lowered to $1m. Paul has a number of tasks to do throughout the movie, if he doesn't then these terrorists will exact their revenge and start by killing his family and friends and leaving him to rot underground. Can Paul get out alive? will they find where Paul is buried in time before its to late? You will have to watch to find out all I can say is prepare for the worst. This movie is brilliant, with a major shock that actually shocked me and a brilliant story, possibly the best I have seen as of yet.
=== Did You Enjoy It? ===
I loved it. It was a high tempo movie that is based pretty much underground through the whole film, but this doesn't make it any less effective or anything like that, when in fact it makes it have more of a cutting edge. The storyline was perfect and when I say perfect I mean to every detail. I enjoyed Ryan Reynolds in this movie, he was simply brilliant and all the females will love this because of him. Another thing I enjoyed about this movie was Ryan Reynolds sense of humour and I know its only acting but it was quite funny in places but also really sad in some. To be honest when I first heard about this movie, I was thinking oh dear me, a movie based in a coffin through the whole of it, but in actual fact it was great. This is the type of movie that takes away the pre judgement of it to make it more enjoyable. I for one loved this film and I am pretty sure you guys will too.
=== Characters/Performances ===
Well this was quite strange but in truth the cast was really short and Ryan Reynold is possibly the only one worth mentioning throughout the whole of it. You don't really see anyone else and the job this guy does is amazing. I have always liked Ryan Reynolds from movies such as Just Friends, Van Wilder, The Amityville Horror, The Proposal and Definitely, Maybe . In this he is brilliant, witty and very clever. Almost looks like he is actually buried alive. Most the other characters performances were okay but they wasn't really effective like Ryan Reynolds as they were voices through the phone.
=== The Director ===
Rodrigo Cortés Giráldez directed the movie Buried and to be honest this is by far his biggest and best movie he has directed. Hes also directed The Contestant but other than that its just small things and no real movies. Thats all I can say for this director as there isn't much to know but this is by far his best piece of work to date.
=== Other Bits ===
The special effects were pretty good when used in this movie, although as you can imagine there wasn't a lot of them but when there was some they was really well done and nicely thought of. One of my favourites would be Ryan trapped underground, looks real to me and another one would be when sand from the desert is filling up his coffin. Also another is when a snake is trapped in there with him. The soundtrack wasn't uninspiring and didn't do much for the movie. There was too much tension through the whole of the film for the soundtrack to have an effect. Also I don't believe I know of any movies like this so I cant compare it to anything I have seen. I enjoyed this movie and it did surprise me so I recommend you go see this. I would give this movie an 8/10 well worth a watch sometime!
Buried has a runtime of roughly 95 minutes and the movie is a 15 certificate!
Review also on Ciao under username: MrBrightside1987
About the film
Buried is a 2010 thriller film (released on DVD in February 2011) which was written by Chris Sparling and directed by Rodrigo Cortés. It stars Ryan Reynolds. With a run time of 91 minutes, the film is rated 15.
Paul Conroy is an American, working as a truck driver in Iraq, thinking it would be a job to help his family out with money situations. The film opens as Paul wakes up, realising he is in a coffin, no idea who has done this to him or what he is doing there. In the coffin with him is a mobile phone and a lighter, along with a pencil. Paul quickly realises that he wont last long in the coffin, with the air quickly running out so he has to think of a plan and quick. Will anyone even be able to find him if he can get in contact with the right people? Who can he call to help him when he is probably stuck somewhere in the middle of the desert with his time running out?
Ryan Reynolds ... Paul Conroy
José Luis García Pérez ... Jabir (voice)
Robert Paterson ... Dan Brenner (voice)
Stephen Tobolowsky ... Alan Davenport (voice)
Samantha Mathis ... Linda Conroy (voice)
Ivana Miño ... Pamela Lutti (voice)
Warner Loughlin ... Maryanne Conroy / Donna Mitchell / Rebecca Browning (voice)
Erik Palladino ... Special Agent Harris (voice)
What I thought
As soon as I heard about this film, I was dying to see it. Not only did it look extremely different than anything I had seen before but it also starred Ryan Reynolds, one of my favourite actors.
While Reynolds started out as a comedy actor, being known as Van Wilder for a long time, he has certainly come a long way since then. Although comedy is Reynolds' main genre of film, he has now shown what range he has and the different types of characters he is able to play. I think the first time we saw something different in him was from The Amityville Horror back in 2006 although he also did a fine job in Blade Trinity. Buried sees Reynolds really excel himself compared to his other roles. Being the only actor shown in the film, all eyes are on him for the whole 91 minutes and it isn't as if he has anywhere to hide, he is stuck in a coffin the whole time. The acting in Buried is by far the best I have seen so far from Reynolds and would love to see him in more serious films from now on, as well as his typical comedies, which I still enjoy.
As you can see from the cast list, there are others involved in this film. As Paul has access to a phone in the coffin, he has the ability to call quite a few people. These extra voices break up the monotony of hearing Paul talk to himself while he tries to figure out what he should/ can do, while trying not to panic too much. Through these phone calls, we get to find out why Paul is buried alive in a coffin and what happen in the run up to this. We also get to find out a lot more about his personal life and some of the things that matter to him, which gave his character so much more depth.
The camera work is one of the things that really makes this film, although as I said, Reynolds' acting is spot on throughout. Imagine the camera being stuck in one place for the whole 91 minutes... that would be boring right? The camera work here showcases different angels of the coffin, showing little things which would have been missed otherwise, like the phone numbers Paul writes down on the walls. The lighting was also amazing and very atmospheric. Due to the light from the phone and Paul's lighter, it changes all the time, giving off different vibes and feelings, matching whatever Paul is going through at that moment. Sometimes, there are only a flickers of light and nearly pure darkness, proving just how bad of a situation Paul is in. Actually, the opening of the film is in pure darkness with only the sound of Paul waking up, figuring out what is going out.
As there are no other cast members on film, the whole thing plays on Paul's emotions while he tries to come up with a way of getting out of the coffin. The most basic emotion of fear shows through the whole time, even when Paul is trying to calm down and talk to someone on the phone. If you were buried in a coffin would there ever be a time where you weren't utterly terrified of what was going to happen. I think that no matter what was happening, I would be so afraid that I don't know if I could compose myself enough to talk rationally to someone on the phone. As the film goes on, you see Paul experiencing different emotions like hope, anger and sadness. I loved that a film such as this could play on emotions so much even though the scene never changes. This is the main reason why I think Reynolds is a such a fantastic actor. Would anyone else have been able to play the part as well with as much passion and believability?
At the time of this review going live, Buried is available for £9.97 on Amazon. Even though I completely loved this film, I wouldn't say that it is worth the price. I don't think it will be a film I will watch again so perhaps a cheaper price would be better suited. As good as it is, I would urge you to wait a while until the price goes down before buying this film. If a tense, emotional thriller is what you are after, this is definitely the film for you!!
Imagine waking up in the pitch black darkness not knowing where you are. Your first instinct would be to move but as you try to sit up you bang your head against something, you reach to the side of you but your arms and hands come into contact with something too. Panicking you fumble around for a source of light, your phone perhaps? Or maybe some matches? Luckily you have a lighter to hand so you ignite it, if you can see where you are perhaps you can make some sense of the situation, but where are you?.
You are in an old wooden coffin and are buried underground. Frightening, yes? And that's what Paul Conroy finds himself in "Buried" - with only a mobile phone, a lighter and no means of escape things look pretty bad for Paul. Who put him there and why? Will he get out before he runs out of clean air or will someone come to his rescue? That's as much as I'm going to reveal, to find out any more you'll have to see for yourself, only the film has the answers...
===A One Man Show===
Focusing entirely on one man and the situation he finds himself in "Buried" is a clever and very powerful film, the whole running time of the film features Paul in the coffin and apart from various camera angles the only person we ever see on screen is Paul himself. That doesn't mean that Paul is alone though, the phone he has been left with works and this allows other people to be in contact with him and as the story plays out we find out why he is where he is and for what reason. It was a brave decision by the filmmakers here to focus the entire story on just one man and his predicament and for the most part this works wonderfully onscreen. Ryan Reynolds has the weight of the film squarely on his shoulders in what must have been an uncomfortable performance and is impressive in his portrayal of the terrified captive. The range of emotions he goes through are well played and are believable at all times, clearly this was an opportunity to really get his teeth into the role and he succeeds in making us buy into the situation he unwillingly finds himself in. We share his frustrations as he tries to get help from the various people he contacts on his mobile phone, having to explain who he is to different people, forced to clarify and repeat minor details which delay any chance of rescue whilst at the same time being acutely aware of the terrifying reality of what could happen to him.
The film exploits the most basic emotion of fear and plays on the survival instinct we all have and pitches itself in such a way that you can't help but become involved in the storyline, tight camera angles and sequences where you can't see what is happening but can only hear the character breathe and panic only serve to heighten the viewing experience. Indeed the films opening 90 seconds are filmed entirely in the dark and the only sounds you pick up on are that of Paul waking up and trying to work out where exactly he is by a series of knocks and moans, the impressive camerawork is established immediately and you are given no respite from the ordeal the character has to go through and as much as the character is put into a horrific situation you can empathise with him and share the feelings of fear, frustration and hope.
The pacing of the film is pitched just right and whilst you may assume that watching some bloke in a wooden box wouldn't be the most thrilling way to pass on 91 minutes the compelling storyline and the way it builds in intensity makes for a riveting experience. Anyone suffering from claustrophobia or a fear of enclosed spaces needs to be aware that the film will affect you and it does make for an unsettling viewing, the character is forced to move around his confines during some parts of the film and watching him try to bend and contort his body to change positions really brings home just how tight the space actually is. Any lighting is provided by the items Paul has at his disposal so at times there is only his face highlighted by the glow of his phone, other times there is the bright, harsh light of the flame from his lighter which allows more of his surroundings to be seen and then there is the darkness which completely envelops him. As far as staging and creating the atmosphere goes "Buried" is impressively shot and filmed and looks frighteningly realistic onscreen and along with Ryan Reynolds' performance this is a film which has a lot going for it.
Due to the limited nature of the storyline I don't really want to discuss too much as to what happens to Paul as realisitically there can only be two possible outcomes, either he gets out of the box or he doesn't. The narrative of the story provides hope that a rescue will take place and whether this does happen I will leave for you to discover for yourself, what I would say is that the ending is impressive and is in keeping with the rest of the film and again is incredibly acted by Reynolds. For what could have been quite a straightforward and simplistic storyline there are plenty of surprises in store if you choose to watch this film and whilst there are times when there appears to be a lull in the action these need to be there to make the more frantic sections work even better.
The soundtrack to the film is stark and for the most part very quiet, this is a positive aspect of the film as it highlights just how desolate and alone Paul actually is. When the soundtrack does kick in its during the quicker sections of the film and does what any good soundtrack is supposed to do and accompanies the action as it plays out.
I was very impressed with this film as you can probably tell from reading my review, I didn't know that much about it other than having an idea of the basic storyline and all in all it proved to be a lot better than I anticipated. My rental copy of the film came courtesy of Lovefilm and did include the extras you would find on the retail version of the film; specifically an audio commentary, interview with the films director Rodrigo Cortes and a making-of-featurette entitled 'Unearthing Buried'. Subtitling and language options are available should you need them and whilst the film carries a UK 15 certificate this is mostly for the perilous premise of the film itself and a few instances of bad language but isn't really anything that offensive.
===Conclusion and My Rating===
Being a newly released DVD the film is available to buy from amazon.co.uk for just under £10.00, I'm not sure if its quite worth that amount as it is a film that I would only ever want to watch once as now I know the outcome a repeat viewing isn't really required. If you are able to I would suggest renting this one or waiting for the price to come down, it's a great film which packs a punch but I doubt I would want to watch it again. I'm going to award a perfect 5 star rating for "Buried" as there are no reasons to deduct any marks, the storyline is gripping, the acting is superb and overall this is an impressive release which should appeal to a lot of people.
Thanks for reading my review. Please be aware that this also appears on ciao under my username
Film Only Review
In one way, Buried is an interesting concept, rarely explored. The entire movie is set in a box and we only ever see one character, although we are introduced to many other's throughout. In one way, it is utterly intriguing, because it calls upon its audience to engage with a character in a terrifying and unthinkable predicament. In the other, it falls flat fairly early on, because its pretty difficult to relate to both the situation and a character who spends most of the film in dull lighting in a state of panic.
Paul Conroy awakes to find himself bound and gagged in a tiny enclosed place. Within minutes he manages to shake himself free, and realises that he is buried in a coffin with only a cell phone (mobile phone to us UK viewers) and a lighter. According to Paul, in a phone conversation with a number of unseen figures, he was hi-jacked whilst making a delivery in Iraq. Many of the people he calls seem incredulous to his claim that he is buried somewhere in the Iraqi desert. After all, it seems highly unlikely that his captors would bury him with a working mobile phone. More unbelievable though is that he would get an almost perfect signal as he attempts to call the FBI, the American embassy and any other authority that he can think of. In fairness to the director, he does realise this, and chucks in an occasional bout of interference on the line.
The entire film takes place inside the coffin with varying degrees of light, although most of the light comes from the zippo lighter that Paul has been left with. This creates a very claustrophobic environment for both the character and the audience who are watching. On more than one occasion, I found myself gasping. Although, thankfully, this wasn't created in 3d. I don't think I'd fancy those burned finger tips or creepy coffin boards. There is much to admire about the film though. It genuinely places you in the 90 minutes of absolute dread that its character goes through, and it was rather difficult to shake that even after the credits had rolled.
Ryan Reynolds is the only actor onscreen, although there are voice-overs from various other actors, most notably Samantha Mathis. Reynolds is most notably for his often charming rom-com persona, but is absolutely superb here. The film rests solely on his ability to bring enough panic, dread and terror to the part whilst only being able to move a couple of inches for the entire experience. The real time setting makes his plight all the more believable, but this is largely down to Reynolds being able to convey all of the required emotions and cough and splutter in all the right places.
The director, Rodrigo Cortes, doesn't really do a conventional directing job. Much of his instruction would be solely to direct Ryan Reynolds in a box. "Scream louder, scratch the wood" instructions aren't really a days work. However, that's not to say that he isn't responsible for bringing Paul's plight to life. Without decent direction, I'm sure Ryan Reynolds wouldn't have created such a convincing experience. Unfortunately, being convincing isn't enough. There is no distraction from the experience, and no build up for the character. We are instantly and forever more introduced to a man who is just buried alive and terrified. For some people, this might be just harrowing enough to keep them on the edge of their seat. For me, I kept hoping there was going to be something more to follow.
José Luis García Pérez
Chris William Martin