Thursday, July 7, 2011

Review: Buried (2010)

Didn't know much about Buried before I saw it a couple days ago. I knew a lot of people kept comparing it to 127 Hours last year so I knew to expect a one-man claustrophobic film that promises me to a harrowing experience. And boy, that is exactly what I got and frankly I'm still recovering from it all.

The film opens in complete darkness with some muffled sounds of something or someone shuffling. Finally, a light from a zippo illuminates the setting and the protagonist both of which will remain constant throughout the film. The audience slowly, but organically, parses out the situation of this guy essentially finding himself tied, gagged, and oh yeah, trapped inside a coffin seemingly buried underground. Talk about the nightmare scenario. And that's basically the whole film in a nutshell.

Of course, there's a cell phone left for Paul Conroy, the one person we see in the film, played by a surprisingly affective Ryan Reynolds, enabling him and the rest of us to venture forth into the outside world. We meet other characters through his phone, so we only ever get to hear them. Once Paul, and thus the rest of us, learn how he ended up there, the film becomes a race against time to escape his cramped prison. The journey Paul goes through, even as he's stuck in one place, is still quite gripping. Simple things such as being put on hold, getting someone's voicemail, dialing 411 for a forgotten number all becomes life-and-death situations and the audience along for the ride. A very scary, very claustrophobic ride. There's a particularly horrifying scene with a snake and because of it, I probably won't be able to watch this move again. I really don't like snakes.

So how does it compare to 127 Hours? Not bad actually. While Danny Boyle and James Franco had the luxury of being able to use the breathtaking Utah landscape and other storytelling devices like flashbacks and fantasy sequences to distract from the horrors their main protagonist was going through, Buried committed itself to focusing on the horrors of being buried alive with the camera not once leaving the darkly lit space. Granted director Rodrigo Cortes also had the the luxury of working with a wonderful original story from writer Chris Sparling while Boyle was limited to the real life story of Aron Ralston. But in the end, there's no real use to put one film over the other. Both delivered career-best performances from their main lead while sufficiently terrifying me to my bones. B/B+

1 comment:

  1. The plot of this movie didn't appeal to me at all, but I guess I'll have to give it a shot.


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