R Y A N R E Y N O L D S
Writer/director Rodrigo Cortes is usually delivering his latest short film. However, his new feature film, only his second, captured lots of attention. Known as the movie where Ryan Reynolds is in a coffin throughout the entire movie, it’s certainly an original concept for a thriller and something that would likely have made Alfred Hitchcock proud. Buried isn’t solely about suspense. It deals with Iraq politics and questions of whether the American Government really does care about Americans in Iraq beyond a political platform. Reynolds, who has become a celebrity more so than an actor and is now dating his Proposal co-star Sandra Bullock, delivers his best on screen performance, which is a far cry from his start in the National Lampoon Van Wilder films.
Paul Conroy (Reynolds) wakes up in dark, close quarters and after he fumbles around to find his lighter he realizes that he is in a coffin buried under the sand. Conroy is a truck driver in Iraq, delivering supplies with a distributing company. All he remembers is that his envoy came under attack and most of them were killed. He finds a cell phone near his feat, which he uses to place numerous calls to the FBI, his wife, and the company he works for. Neither of them understand the gravity of his situation nor do they know how to help him. He finally receives a call from his kidnappers, who demand “five million money” before 9pm or they will leave him buried to die.
When you are prepared for a film focusing on one person in tight quarters and nearly zero light I think you can appreciate the situation and the creativity shooting this movie. Buried is a rare film that manages to deliver suspense without special effects or any movement at all. The phone conversations Conroy has throughout the movie provide the tension and sense of time and danger. Cortes has scripted this very well, from the choices of phone calls to the items Conroy is given within the space. The only gimmick found in the movie is when an outside creature somehow makes its way into the wooden box. Everything else relies on Cortes's direction and Reynold's ability to keep the audience caring about him. It’s only through phone calls and the messages he leaves on answering machines that we come to know him.
The other aspect of the film is the attitudes from the FBI, telephone operators, the legal department of the company he drives for and the rescue mission director in Iraq. All of those people in this script are more focused on the logistics of their job, saying the right thing or handing his phone call (problem) off to someone else instead of trying to help an American citizen who has been buried alive. Getting used to only seeing dim images of Reynolds face through a flame flicker, cell phone screen or glitching flashlight takes some getting used to, but it doesn’t take the film long to suck you in and leave you begging to see what happens to this every-man who deserves every bit of empathy we can give.
Final Thought – One of the most compelling and unique thrillers of 2010, Ryan Reynolds gives a fierce performance.
By: Dustin Chase W.
Editor: Michael Woody