Monday, October 02, 2017
Directed and edited by Rodrigo Cortes and written by Chris Sparling, Buried is the story of a truck driver who is attacked in Iraq during the Iraq War in the 2000s where he is put into a coffin and buried alive as he struggles to survive. The film is an unusual suspense-horror film where a man does whatever he can to survive and get out of a coffin. Starring Ryan Reynolds. Buried is a gripping and intense film from Rodrigo Cortes.
Set somewhere in the middle of an Iraqi desert, a man named Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) is inside a casket buried alive underneath several feet of dirt with only his lighter, a cell phone, a couple of glow sticks, a flashlight, and a few other personal belongings with him. Throughout the course of the film, he struggles to stay alive and wondered why he is buried alive as his only source of contact is through a cellphone where he tries to call for help while getting calls from the individuals who buried him. Chris Spraling’s screenplay is very minimalist in terms of the setting as it features a lot of lines where Paul is dealing with his situation as well as the people who either called or whom Paul would call. He deals with losing his breath, the low batteries in the cell phone and flashlight, and dirt slowly coming into the casket including a snake coming in at one point. All of which forcing Paul to see if he can survive and see if help is on the way.
Rodrigo Cortes’ direction is definitely claustrophobic as it rarely feature any wide shots in favor of extreme close-ups and a few medium shots. Shot mainly in a soundstage, the film has these very intricate movements and shots to get a feel of how small the casket is as well as the lack of space that Paul is dealing with while having dirt coming down on him little by little. Also serving as the film’s editor, Cortes knows when to cut to play into the suspense as well as creating that sense of the unknown whenever Paul might be getting some help or dealing with frustration that he is dying inside this coffin. Especially to those he is calling to or the message he’s getting from this unknown figure as it all play into the high stakes of the drama. Even as there is this uncertainty of whether he would stay alive or not throughout the course of the entire film. Overall, Cortes crafts a very unsettling yet captivating film about a man being buried alive inside a coffin in the middle of an Iraqi desert.
Cinematographer Eduard Grau does brilliant work with the film’s cinematography with its usage of grainy film stock to play with the different lighting sources from the lighter, glow sticks, cell phone, and flashlights to help create a mood for the film. Art directors Maria de la Camara and Gabriel Pare do amazing work with the look of the casket and how small it is to play into that air of claustrophobia. Visual effects supervisor Alex Villagrasa does nice work with the look of a snake that Paul would encounter later in the film inside the coffin. Sound designer James Munoz does fantastic work with the sound to play into that intimacy and natural sounds inside the coffin to some of the things happening outside which are presented by sound. The film’s music by Victor Reyes is superb for its orchestral-driven score from the sweeping yet suspenseful opening number to the cues that help play into the suspense and drama.
The film’s excellent cast mainly consists of actors doing voices such as Samantha Mathis as Paul’s wife, Jose Luis Garcia Perez as the man who abducted and buried Paul, Stephen Tobolowsky as an executive for the company that Paul is working for, Erik Palladino as a FBI agent, Warner Loughlin in a trio of voice roles as Paul’s mother, a friend of Paul’s wife, and a number lady, Ivana Mino as a co-worker who is seen briefly on video as a bargaining tool, and Robert Paterson as a government agent trying to help and save Paul through the phone. Finally, there’s Ryan Reynolds in an incredible performance as Paul Conroy as this civilian truck driver working for a private contracting company in Iraq who is buried alive inside a casket trying to survive as Reynolds provides that anguish and determination to survive as well as some humility into the possibility that he might die as it’s definitely one of his best performances of his career.
Buried is a sensational film from Rodrigo Cortes that features a tremendous performance from Ryan Reynolds. It’s a film that takes a simple premise of a man being buried alive in a coffin and keep it engaging as well as provide that uncertainty into the suspense. In the end, Buried is a phenomenal film from Rodrigo Cortes.
© thevoid99 2017
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Great review! This was a really well done movie, keeping confined in that small space was a risk that paid off. It's probably the best Ryan Reynolds has been aside from Deadpool as well.
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