Buried (dir. Rodrigo Cortés, 2010) – A truck driver wakes up in a coffin, buried alive with only a lighter and a cell phone.
This claustrophobic thriller has us rooting in terror for the victim’s unlikely survival.
A quick and painful death is often preferred, but Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) has very little choice. Waking up in a wooden coffin, he finds himself buried alive with nothing but a lighter, a cell phone, and sand that fills by the minute.
Set entirely within the oblong box, Buried is a suffocating watch. Despite the simplistic premise, director Rodrigo Cortés racks up tension with the claustrophobic setting and a pointed script. Conroy’s scarce inventory offers little chance for escape, and the film shows no disillusion. Hope wanes as the civilian truck driver struggles to stay calm in the tight space, while trying to figure out the reasons for his imprisonment.
The sympathetic victim is easy to root for. Ryan Reynolds delivers solid credibility in what has to be a physically and emotionally draining role. As the sole driving force of the high-concept thriller, he sinks deep into the bad situation, capturing every inch of his anxiety and confusion. His fading faith is palpable, as he remains at the mercy of circumstances beyond his control.
Caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, his character speaks for the innocent and forgotten victims of an enduring, pointless war. His conundrum also brings up questions of grey morality, surrounding the questionable decisions made without his say. Heart-pounding excitement sustains throughout all of the deceptively minimalist drama, hinting at underlying complexity in its themes.