One of the more claustrophobic films I’ve seen in recent times, Buried (2010, dir. Rodrigo Cortés) will make you feel like you’re trapped in a very small and confined space, not unlike its protagonist. For once, I’m glad that I actually didn’t see something at the cinema, because I expect this would have been sensory slash claustrophobia overload. Its synopsis is as follows:
Waking groggy in pitch darkness, Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds), an American truck driver working in Iraq in 2006, slowly realizes he is trapped inside a wooden coffin, buried alive. With his cigarette lighter, he can see the trap he is in, and he quickly realizes that there’s not enough air for him to live long. He finds within the coffin a working cellphone, which allows him contact with the outside world. But the outside world proves not to be very helpful at finding a man buried in a box in the middle of the Iraqi desert. Paul must rely on his best resource – himself. (source)
This may be the film that has caused me to gain a significant amount of respect for Ryan Reynolds. I had no idea that he was actually a good actor. When playing a man stuck in a coffin underground with death looming closer every minute, and oxygen depleting every second, it would be pretty easy to go overboard on the stressing and freak-outs. But Reynolds plays this role in a realistic manner, with his sense of stress fluctuating over time, alternating between emotions such as sadness, anger and fear. This seems quite an authentic way to play this role; but I don’t know, I’ve never been stuck in a situation like that before. Reynolds’ shining performance is counterbalanced by the script by Chris Sparling, who handles exposition in a very clever manner indeed, through the use of phone calls that increasingly reveal information over time. Further, direction by Rodrigo Cortés both enhances the claustrophobic experience and lifts the viewers away from it, with some implausible shots that serve to explore our protagonist’s mindset rather than the limitations of his present problem.
What I really loved about Buried was its use of immediacy. There’s no overarching plot necessarily, no complex intermingling of characters and problems to be solved. Instead, we’re presented with the immediate and very present problem of one man trying to get out of his confronting situation using the tools he has on hand. We don’t see anything outside of the coffin; we’re stuck just like Reynolds is. It’s a very simple story, and it puts the viewer right in the centre of it – feeling the lack of oxygen, feeling every grain of sand that sneaks through the wooden planks of the coffin. Buried is a sensory experience, a one man show of impressive quality. It’s a film that’s almost physically uncomfortable to sit through if you’re not a fan of feeling trapped in tight spaces, but even then it’s worth the trouble.
Watch the trailer here.
Yeah I rate this film although that snake scene was a little bit silly aha
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the snake scene – that part definitely tested my suspension of disbelief!
I have always avoided this one because I just don’t need to feed my nightmares!
If being trapped in small spaces makes you want to cry a little bit, then I would probably avoid this film!!
love this film. they are able to tell such an amazing story in one small space with only one actor being shown
I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Based on the synopsis, I would have thought it would be really boring, but the handling of suspense and tension is so great!
sounds very scary!!
It really is! But it’s a clever kind of scary!
Great post! This is one of those amazing movies that I absolutely NEVER want to watch again, ha! That ending stuck with me for days…
Thanks Allie! Yeah, I think the ending is going to haunt me for quite a while!!
Great review! Glad you enjoyed it! Definitely not a bad film, I enjoyed it.
Thanks Zoe! I think this is one of those films that’s enjoyable at the time, but I probably won’t watch this again for a fair while!
Great review Anna! I didn’t hugely enjoy this but I totally agree it showcased Ryan Reynolds as more than just a pair of abs 🙂 and it was a fun watch!
Thanks heaps Emma! Wouldn’t have minded seeing the abs, but that would probably be more appropriate in an entirely different film!
I’m so immature anyway, I have to bring EVERY conversation about Ryan Reynolds back to his abs!!!!
Speaking of which….
Fab review yo, before this film I wasn’t too keen on Ryan Reynolds, but I saw it in the cinema back in 2010 and it was one of my favourite films of that year. And anytime I hear anyone hating on Reynolds or think about his bad performances, I always go back to Buried as the key example of what the man can do when given the right material. I’m gutted that more people haven;t seen this film as it’s super intense, suspenseful, well-directed and filmed too. I’ve been meaning to watch this again for years but I’m not sure I can put myself through that stress again. 😛
Thanks heaps Curtis! It’s funny how one film can entirely change your perception of an actor. I have a lot more respect for Reynolds now. But I think it’s going to be quite some time before I can watch this again!
I was surprised by how good this was and I really liked the end.
Me too, I was so cynical of the concept but they pulled it off really well. The ending though, what an experience.
I like claustrophobic flicks! And I really liked Reynolds in The Voices so I’ll have to give this a shot. Sounds very interesting
Sounds like you might like this one then! Would love to hear your thoughts on it!
It’ll be interesting to see Reynolds six years ago, alas this is another to add to the ever growing List 😉