Tuesday, 28 December 2010
Buried: Livin' in a Box, yeah, yeah...
Okay, so that was nasty.
In Buried, Ryan Reynolds is Paul, a civilian contractor who drives trucks in Iraq ferrying kitchen supplies around. One day his convoy gets ambushed and he’s taken prisoner. A while later Paul wakes up in a coffin-like box apparently buried somewhere in the deserts of Iraq. He finds he has a mobile phone left with him with limited battery life, along with a small knife, a flashlight, a lighter and some chemical glow sticks.
And that’s your movie right there.
And it’s all you need.
Because what follows is ninety minutes of pure horrific tension and claustrophobia as Paul discovers who has him and what they want while desperately trying to get through to his corporate employers and the US and local authorities for help as well as his loved ones back home. All of this before his limited air and battery power finally runs out.
Three things to say about Buried:
1. Ryan Reynolds is brilliant. Already a strong actor with tons of charisma and great comedic ability, this just goes to prove beyond any doubt his heavyweight dramatic acting chops. The entire film from first to last second is just him in a box acting the genuine terror, confusion, desperation and rage of his situation as well as his bitter frustration - especially when dealing with faceless, useless bureaucrats over his slowly dying phone. Reynolds truly sells it. You believe every ghastly second of his harrowing plight right up to the nerve jangling and emotion filled conclusion.
2. The director does one hell of a job in making a tense, terrifying, and set piece filled movie with just a guy in a box. But tense set pieces there are, lots of ‘em. The film’s concept is simple and genius. You can’t help but instantly identify with Paul and feel every horrid moment along with him in what has to be one of the biggest universal fears for humans – being buried alive. Honestly, to truly scare the bejesus out of people you don’t need ghosts or monsters of even serial killers, you just need something so very simple, real and primal in its terror and to be able to have people identify and connect with whoever is suffering. And that’s exactly what happens here. I’m not especially claustrophobic but, for me, Buried is hands down the best horror film of 2010.
3. All you need to know about the pointless, futile and misguided lunacy of America and Britain’s adventures in Iraq and the greedy corporate big money behind it is right here in Buried. Forget the well made yet pointless Green Zone or any other preachy, indignant Iraq dramas, just sit and watch and identify with Paul and the situation he is in, a situation built on greed, lies, broken promises and betrayal. It is simple, intimate and utterly horrific. And, sadly, very human.
Buried is one of the simplest, probably cheapest, and certainly best films of the year. Along with Natalie Portman for Black Swan, I’d love to see Ryan Reynolds get an Oscar nod. He probably won’t but as of right now his is the best male performance I’ve seen this year. 5 (out of 5)