So many films rely on their hook. A simple premise that makes you want to part with your hard-earned cash. Buried has an easy-enough-to-understand idea, but it’s not a terribly popular one. I doubt the general population were saying “you know what I want to see, Ryan Reynolds in a coffin for ninety minutes”, although those who saw The Proposal probably wanted this state to be permanent.
Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) wakes up buried underground in a coffin after his truck convoy was ambushed in Iraq. He finds a cigarette lighter and a phone with him, and discovers he is being held to ransom and will suffocate if the American Embassy does not pay the kidnappers in time. In the whole film we only see what he sees. There are no shots of Government agents desperately scouring the area, or worried family members back home.
Paul is not a soldier, but a contractor, and we completely believe that we would do the same in his situation, although Buried sets these strict rules, and then begins to break them, resulting in the occasional cop-out moment.
The soundtrack, whilst able to pull heartstrings, takes you out of the moment, as does the opening credits and when a film works so hard to drag you into the coffin these little aspects throw you out, and the film has to work hard to bring you back. Our attention is maintained by interesting and varied camera shots, and Reynolds keeps you enthralled, often with only his voice in the dark.
It is a fascinating film, and is worth seeing if only to view something completely fresh and unique. It’s probably the best Iraq War film I’ve seen, despite the war having no direct relation to the plot. Make sure you go into the film knowing as little as possible, and punch anyone who gives away spoilers in the face.
Thanks to Palace Nova, who have given our film reviewers over the year free passes and access to media screenings. This section would be far more expensive without them!