“Buried” DVD, Blu-Ray Movie Review

1/20/2011 Posted by Admin


DVD, Blu-Ray Movie Review

Directed by Rodrigo Cortés, Written by Chris Sparling, 93 minutes, Rated R.

By our guest blogger, Matthew Schimkowitz

For a film so confined, "Buried" sure moves quickly. Like the film’s main character, director Rodrigo Cortés uses everything at his disposal to create a clear sense of space. He covers every inch of the central coffin, turning the story’s limits into the film’s strengths.

Amidst Cortés' fluid camera work, lightning-fast editing and Ryan Reynolds's frenzied performance, "Buried" keeps the tension building, the drama convincing and the surprises aplenty, all from the confines of a small wooden box.

Reynolds is Paul Conroy, a contract truck driver working in Iraq. Kidnapped by a group of Iraqi criminals, Paul finds himself buried alive until his family pays a ransom of $5 million. Armed with few supplies, Paul struggles to survive. But with a quickly depleting cell phone battery, he only has 90-minutes before his situation turns hopeless.

Ironically, Cortés never lets his tight premise bury him. His inventive filming style keeps the story racing, even though we're stuck in one spot. So, while Reynolds remains static, Cortés’ camera does not. The lens surveys the area, noticing every nook and cranny before suddenly jilting and spinning as Conroy's situation intensifies.

With his camera, the director expresses Paul’s turmoil without resorting to flashbacks, keeping things well contained. The director gives us an appropriate idea of our boundaries, and then moves outside of them.

But for as good as Cortés is, it's Reynolds who ties it all together. Working from Chris Sparling's fantastic script, Mr. Reynolds makes every movement and moment count. Reynolds, with the help of some great sound editing, makes his squeezing around the box tense and painful, so when he needs to reach an item on the opposite side of the coffin, it’s as suspenseful as any multi-camera shootout.

On the phone, Paul’s logical. He asks the right questions with conviction and deals with the problems realistically. Conroy's panic could easily come off as annoying, and in such a small space, redundant, but Reynolds keeps the script's revelations surprising and reacts to each piece of information with skepticism and contemplation.

"Buried" has everything going for it--a tight script, resourceful filmmaking and a strong lead.

Grade: A-

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