Paul Conroy Isn't Ready To Die.
José Luis García Pérez
Running Time: 95 minutes
US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15
The thought of being buried alive and waking up underground is, to most people, an unbearable punishment worse than death and it was only a matter before this hair-raising situation was turned into a film. It’s a concept that could easily have been made into a gruesome Saw-esque test of attrition but Rodrigo Cortés has tried to do something original and current with the idea and it’s turned out pretty well.
The man in the coffin (a real coffin not the kind of en-suite underground condo that David Blaine would use) is Paul Conroy (Reynolds), a truck driver working in Iraq delivering supplies to the needy. Turns out he’s been kidnapped by an Iraqi terrorist who is demanding a one million dollar ransom and Paul only has a mobile phone, lighter and pencil with which to try and secure his release.
Cortés does well to really ratchet up the tension and keep the interest of the viewer as Buried meanders to a really powerful, un-cliched climax. It’s a tough job to do as all the ‘action’ (phonecalls, a snake and some sand) takes place inside a box with just Ryan Reynolds for company. Reynolds puts in a convincing turn as he goes through a range of emotions – frustration, anger, hope, sadness (all without once needing to go for a wee). Quite a few little details are thrown in to make us care about Paul – helping the needy, he’s got kids and he’s not got much money – which are a little heavyhanded but necessary. It is a frustrating watch and it could’ve benefited from at least a flashback or two just to add a little to his character and create a release from the box.
Overall, Buried is a concept-movie done very well and is a decent, if not a little frustrating, watch with a great performance from Ryan Reynolds.
It's Got: A whole lot of Ryan Reynolds, tension, a powerful climax, Robert Patterson on the end of the phone
It Needs: Maybe a flashback or two.
Alternatives:Crank, Phonebooth, The Disappearance of Alice Creed
Who would have thought that watching Ryan Reynolds in a coffin for ninety minutes would be well-acted and tension-filled but Cortés manages it. Now for Adam Sandler in a coffin, minus the camera.