Awaking groggy and disorientated, Paul Conroy discovers he has been buried alive following an attack on the truck he was driving in Iraq. With little more than a lighter, a pen and a mobile phone for company, he tries to somehow engineer an escape before time runs out.
A minimalist plot description for an incredibly minimalist film. Buried’s entire 94 minute runtime is set inside the wooden coffin with the increasingly desperate Paul (Ryan Reynolds) as he tries to get out of his wooden prison, and for those who suffer from any kind of claustrophobia, Buried is likely to be a rather unpleasant experience, forcing you to live every second of Paul’s torture. It’s quite a brave decision having one single location and actor, but director Rodrigo Cortés does a decent job of keeping the tension at a high level and manages to keep it from getting too stale.
However, whilst there are some intense junctures, it does fall foul of some rather silly moments that do give you somewhat of a reality check. An incident with a snake is one that stands out as particularly jarring. A slightly stronger script could have turned this into something truly excellent, but a thinly veiled anti war, anti corporate America message ends up detracting a little from the tension.
Ryan Reynolds was apparently the first choice for the role of Paul and he repays the faith in him admirably. He gives an eclectic performance, much more varied than many of his other roles, and one that likely came from the pretty horrendous conditions he was having to work in.
Buried is intriguing and engaging with some excellent moments, but falls just short of the potential it could, and perhaps should, have fulfilled.