Thursday, October 14, 2010

BURIED - One-and-a-half Hours of Sheer Terror

BURIED (mystery thriller)
Cast: Ryan Reynolds (pictured)
Director: Rodrigo Cortes
Script: Chris Sparling
Time: 94 mins
Rating: * * * (out of 4)


WARNING: Movie-goers should be warned that the entire movie is shot within the confines of a coffin and those who suffer from claustrophobia may find the film disturbing. However, those who enjoy being suspended in a Kafkaesque state of trauma and terror, they are in for a treat.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) is a truck driver working for an American company in Iraq, circa 2006. His convoy is attacked and he is knocked out and captured. When he awakens, he finds himself trapped within a wooden coffin buried under the ground. In the box, Paul has a lighter, a working cell phone and a torchlight.

Everything is draining away fast, including battery life, lighter fuel and his air supply. His only hope is to use the phone to contact someone - anyone - who may help him...

HITS & MISSES: There are many times when we find ourselves looking at a dark blank screen, listening out for some sound that may indicate something that is happening. This heightens the sense of hopelessness and terror as we slowly grasp what is happening to Paul. With the whole movie shot inside the coffin and from Paul's point of view, camera angles are limited but Spanish director Rodrigo Cortes makes good use of the tight spaces to reduce monotony. Cort├ęs and crew are reported to have used seven coffins in the shoot, one of which allowed the camera to spin 360 degrees. They employ a nerve-wrecking sound design that intensifies the whisper of sand seeping through cracks in the lid.

Cortes builds up the tension, offers hopes of rescue to provide a little relief - and then plies on more terror. Reynolds is solid in this one-man show that sees him increasingly stressed, with beads of sweat and sand running down his face as Paul explores every means of escape or rescue. Through his rantings, pleas and expletives, we also get to learn of his character and family background.

THE LOWDOWN: Those interested should catch Buried in the cinema as the effects will be definitely lost on the smaller TV screen.

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