Buried is an experimental film, one where plot is almost non-existent and ideas are used as a sense of progression. The plan to create a one man show set inside a box has been attempted in various movies before but not to this extent. Buried has one actor and one setting for an entire ninety-five minutes. If this sounds as intriguing as it is superficial then a surprise is in store for you. Buried has some nifty tricks up its supposedly one-dimensional sleeve.
The movie begins with Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) awakening in a wooden coffin looking just as confused as we are. In his possession; a cell phone with only three bars of battery left, a Zippo, a flask filled with alcohol, anxiety pills, a pencil, and a pocket knife. Paul immediately goes to work by using his cell phone to call everyone he knows for help.
We discover he’s a truck driver who was working in Iraq when his convoy was attacked by a group of hostiles. Paul frantically tries to discover who put him in his current situation and who he can trust to get him out in time. This is where the so-called “plot” unravels with events happening like bad reception, ransom videos, and an unwelcome visitor popping up to create even more problems for Paul.
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I already mentioned the importance of sound in Buried and how it makes the movie have an anxious feel to it. The visual side of the film is very subtle but extremely valuable to create the atmosphere of being trapped in a box. The use of the lighting is limited to Paul’s lighter and cell phone which makes the movie a unique experience and surprisingly comprehensible given the low amount of illumination provided.
The picture quality wouldn’t be as important to most people who are buying the Blu-Ray copy of Buried but it does a better job than you initially would think. There are a handful of times where the screen is completely black for a couple minutes and when Paul eventually lights his Zippo the image presented is crisp and clean. The contrast between the dark shadows of the box and Paul’s bloody face revealed by the light enhance the simple look of the film. Sometimes the more visually impressive movies are basic in nature and perfect the art of using less than more, and Buried would be in that category.
The only special feature on the Blu-Ray besides a bunch of theatrical trailers is the making of feature which goes into detail on how Buried was filmed. While not terribly exciting, it does demonstrate how harsh the conditions were for Reynolds to film. It made me respect the guy more based on what I saw he had to go through, the state of mind his character is in must have had an impact on him personally. The feature is also an excellent way to see how they filmed a whole movie inside a box using different shots and angles. It’s pretty clever and worth checking out. If you are concerned at why the disc has no other special features keep in mind this is a movie that doesn’t really require more than one.
Buried is a one of a kind experience that goes well beyond just a movie with a neat idea. It’s a thriller that works, and you know that’s true when you start the movie and can’t turn it off until it’s over. Together, Reynolds and Cortes do a fantastic job of making us feel just like Paul is, tightly fitted within a coffin under the earth trying to stay alive by any means necessary.
Buried features an excellent score that delivers intensity and dread. Reynolds' performance is very effective and I promise you, you have never seen a movie like this before.