Synopsis: A man is buried alive in a box and must try and get help before his cell phone battery dies.
Release Date: October 8, 2010 MPAA Rating: PG-13
The only feasible reason to ever be trapped in a coffin is to watch this movie. Even though you will not actually be inside of a coffin, although that would make for an interesting twist on immersive cinema, you will have bouts of claustrophobia while watching Paul (Ryan Reynolds) who is indeed buried alive in a wooden coffin-like box for the duration of the film. If you are expecting the expected cuts to characters outside of his enclosed space you will be sorely, but all the more frighteningly, disappointed as the entire film takes place with Paul in nearly real-time. The only connection he has to the outside world is through a cellular phone but the voices on the other line are never given faces. This is a movie about a man desperately trying to escape his confinement while battling the elements that come with being buried deep in the sand of Iraq. The only escape possible is through Paul for the viewer, and his torture is your torture.
How did Paul end up in this box? Well, he was working as a non-military truck driver when his convoy was attacked. He blacked out and when he woke up was buried, without any recollection of who put him there or how. With limited supplies he must try and communicate with the outside world in the hopes that he will be rescued by the US military. Paul’s struggle becomes more and more terrifying as each moment passes and his air supply runs low, or unexpected obstacles occur inside of the coffin as nature cannot be contained and Paul is impeding upon the natural elements of the desert.
The film takes a decisive direction halfway through as the bureaucracy of the government/corporate America take hold and the frustration mounts over the lack of help Paul is given. His captors are demanding money in exchange for release while making threats that are larger than leaving Paul to suffocate. What turns ones stomach is the representation of the American government in the film as well as the necessity to make clear how no one is willing to be held accountable for his kidnapping. It is quite clear a political message is being made and there is no denying the filmmakers have incredible issues with the treatment of hostages in Iraq by the American government. For the viewer, it is a disgusting display of events we naively hope are fictional renditions while deep down we know what happens in this film is closer to the truth than anyone would like to admit. The politics aside it is also incredibly emotional as Paul deals with his own mortality, life choices, and the possibility (and likely reality) that he will never see his family again. This story about a man being buried alive goes in a direction that is off-putting to say the least but it is the stylistic endeavor of filming an entire movie in such an enclosed space, and pulling it off where the momentum never ceases and the suspense only grows as time passes, that is the real triumph of Buried.
I have seen many films and listened to a variety of people’s comments as the credits roll. To date, a woman’s very loud, and quite angry, comment to her male companion is by far the best, making Buried unique in how it generated a response unheard before. The house lights came up and she said, “We are going to have words about this!”. My laughter was uncontrollable and her face full of so much anger it was a priceless moment. Love it or hate it, Buried will get an emotional response out of you one way or another.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Rodrigo Cortes
- Producer(s): Chris Sparling
- Screenwriter(s): Ryan Reynolds (Paul Conroy)
- Cast: Rodrigo CortesEduard Grau
- Cinematographer: Victor Reyes
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA