Tuesday, October 5, 2010

BURIED Movie Review

BURIED (2010)

Review by Joe Johnson

Of course there is nothing underground about this heavily promoted Hollywood hit staring heartthrob Ryan Reynolds. Billed as a horror/thriller hybrid the Hitchcock inspired teaser trailer eludes to some kind of retro murder mystery flick. Buried is far removed from these genre, with just one actor and one (very cramped) location.

We learn at the start of the film that Reynolds character, Paul Conroy, is truck driver stationed out in Iraq who has been captured by insurgents and buried underground in a less than spacious wooden coffin. Equipped with just a mobile phone, a lighter, a torch and oddly, a couple of glow-sticks, Reynolds sets about trying to build a picture of what happened to him and how to get rescued.

In a bold move which injects an element of humor into the proceedings, the film plays with the frustrations of navigating endless layers of automated telephone options when trying to make contact with someone in a hurry about an important issue. None could be more urgent than this, Conroy is rapidly running out of oxygen and has been informed by his captors that he must raise 1 million dollars within the next few hours in exchange for his freedom.

Paul goes about ringing the U.S emergency services who offer little help before being put in contact with a calm trustworthy voice from the Pentagon who talks him around and attempts to contain his desperate state of mind that triggers sporadic anxiety attacks. With assistance, Paul begins to make inroads into organizing a rescue for mission.

Among the phone calls from the good guys, Paul is being constantly hounded by his captors who demand that he makes videos of himself pleading for mercy. Reynolds portrays a fallible character with an attitude that spirals from anger to disappointment and joy making the feature a believable and visceral experience.

To reveal any more would be bordering on a spoiler but needless to say Conroy has a myriad of crucial decisions to make, each one influencing the next, culminating in the film’s end which, while satisfying, is wholly predictable. The singular location and the suspense factor that ebbs and flows is reminiscent of PHONE BOOTH, but BURIED has a unique style all of its own which will no doubt appeal to horror and thriller fans alike.


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