What's the expression... "all dressed up and nowhere to go?" The new Ryan Reynolds thriller Buried devises a unique filmmaking challenge — let's set an entire movie in a coffin with only one actor and try to make it compelling for ninety minutes! — then proceeds to go absolutely nowhere interesting with it. With so much crap flooding major multiplex screens I feel vaguely guilty attacking a tiny, low-budget indie flick, like I'm picking on the smallest kid in class, but if I don't call it like I see it I don't deserve to discuss movies in the first place, and I didn't like Buried at all.
This will probably be my shortest review ever because there isn't that much to say. Paul Conroy, an American truck driver in Iraq, wakes up in a buried coffin with only a cell phone, a lighter, and a couple other simple tools unsuited for escaping, and gets a call from a mysterious Iraqi demanding "five million money" or he'll let Paul suffocate. Then everything you'd expect to happen happens; Paul makes frantic calls to his employers and the FBI trying to arrange for "five million money" or his rescue, tries to get in touch with his wife, makes a call to his mother to say goodbye. A snake gets in the coffin; some sand leaks in. The ending can obviously go one way or another, neither of which would have surprised me, but although I won't say which happens I will say that it's clear and unambiguous.
Director Rodrigo Cortés does a good job keeping the film visually dynamic by switching between orange light from the lighter, blue light from the cell phone, green light from a glowstick, and red or white light from a flashlight, while Ryan Reynolds easily gives his career-best performance. Sure, that's not saying all that much, and he won't win an Oscar or anything, but it's a raw and unguarded depiction of a man looking death in the eye. But none of that changes the fact that when all was said and done I was filled with profound apathy. I didn't like or particularly care about the character and I didn't find anything beyond the initial concept to be clever. It's not my least favorite movie of 2010 but I think it may be the last one I'd rewatch.
1 Star out of 5