It is hard to believe that a 90 minute movie with only one actor and only one location — an old wooden coffin buried underground — could hold one’s attention. But Rodrigo Cortes’s Buried does precisely that.
Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) is working in Iraq as a US contractor when he is attacked by a group of Iraqis and knocked unconscious. He wakes up to find himself buried alive in a wooden coffin with nothing but a cell phone and a cigarette lighter. He has until his oxygen runs out to escape. Can he do it?
The first seven minutes of Buried are unbelievably tense as we live through the first moments of Paul waking up to his fate. The tension is unrelenting and we wonder how is it going to be possible to do anything with this situation to keep our interest. But just as we are about to give up thinking that this is going to be 90 minutes of monotonous claustrophobia, things start to happen that keep us on the edge until the very last frame (literally!).
This movie should have been impossible to make but here it is! And it is brilliant! There are nasty surprises and twists, brilliant acting by Reynolds, and a wonderful script. And everything that happens inside that coffin is absolutely real and believable.
I won’t tell you anymore. Go see it.
‘In theory, we go to movies for enjoyment. Director Rodrigo Cortés inverts that notion with Buried, a terrific, claustrophobic, fist-clenching film in which he tortures his audience in exquisite fashion.’ – Bill Goodykoontz/Arizona Republic
‘Rodrigo Cortes keeps the action bound to the box, limiting his lighting to naturalistic approximations, so that much of Reynolds's performance consists of him grunting and heaving in the dark.’ – Karina Longworth/Village Voice