Buried (2010) movie poster

(2010) director Rodrigo Cortés
viewed: 01/29/11

A man in a box with a cell phone for an hour and a half.  That’s the cinematic challenge of the movie, Buried, starring Ryan Reynolds.  He’s a truck driver in Iraq, a non-military, non-weapon-bearing contractor, whose convoy has been attacked, and who wakes up in a coffin with a cell phone, not much air, and a continually depleting chance of survival.

Director Rodrigo Cortés has cited Hitchcock as an influence in opting for this intensely contained and restricted concept.  The whole thing takes place in the coffin.

Reynolds is pretty good and the whole thing holds together pretty well.

The story is set in 2006 and for a film that takes place in a wooden box, there is an amazing amount of technology in the film (all in the form of the cell phone).  Reynolds calls the US, desperate to find friends, family, government agencies, his own company that employed him to be there, trying to get someone to come save him.  But he’s also tormented by his kidnapper, who demands that he shoot a video of himself and send it, begging for his life.  It gets posted to YouTube and runs on Al Jazeera.  It goes viral.  It causes his rescuers embarrassment.  For a man in a hole, he’s got the whole world at his fingertips.  He sees video of a co-worker assassinated.  Perhaps there is even some weird read on this film about how alone and isolated we are, even with technology connecting us to everything.  We’re still in our little wooden coffins.

The film hits its weakest points at its most histrionic.  When Reynolds cries in talking to his loved ones or leaves an emotional last will and testament, it kind of clunks.  While the film is challenging, and adroit and involving, it’s not masterful.  It is an interesting film on whole.

In the hole.

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