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Blu-ray Review: Buried
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Buried
Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo
DIRECTED BY: Rodrigo Cortés
WRITTEN BY: Chris Sparling
STARRING: Ryan Reynolds, Samantha Mathis, José Luis García Pérez, Robert Paterson, Stephen Tobolowsky
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: January 18, 2011

What would you do if you awoke to total blackness, barely able to move or breathe, and completely unaware of your location? What would you do if you soon realized that you’re not only unaware of your location, but that you’re actually in a wooden coffin, buried within the earth, set to ponder your horrific fate until the moment the last bit of life drifts away from your tormented body?

If you’re anything like me, you’d likely slip into an uncontrollable panic wishing only that death would come as quickly as humanly possible. But for Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds), who finds himself in this very position in director Rodrigo Cortés‘s new thriller, Buried, giving up is not an option…at first.

Paul is an American truck driver, who was working a contract job in Iraq delivering supplies to community centers and the like. But as he recalls soon after regaining consciousness, the convoy of trucks he was traveling with was attacked, first by children throwing rocks and then by much more deadly men with guns, who shoot most of the other drivers.

Unsure why he wasn’t killed and why he was buried alive, Paul soon receives a phone call on the cell phone he was buried with (along with a lighter, a couple of glowsticks, a flask with some booze in it, a dying flashlight, and a small knife). On the other end is one of the insurgents who put him there, who thinks he’s a U.S. soldier (as every American is assumed to be) and they’re not happy that our country’s troops are still occupying their country. The man demands $5 million or Paul will lay there until his death. With only three bars left worth of power on the phone, Paul must frantically call any and everyone who might be able to help him — many of which are shockingly skeptical of his situation and difficult to communicate with in this most desperate of life and death situations.

Buried is a movie that fans of filmmaking will need to see. Unlike a lot of other films that try to rely on only one actor and one location, this movie truly does. The entire movie is inside of this space-less coffin with only Reynolds physically appearing on camera; all other actors are either just voices during a phone call or an image/video sent to the phone Reynolds has. This means that for over 90 minutes, Reynolds and the direction have to be good enough to keep viewers intrigued and entertained, which is no easy task at all. Not only do they keep things fresh and intense throughout the duration, but a simple-yet-complicated story is weaved, leaving you guessing how things are going to play out.

Reynolds has to be the highlight of the film, though. Buried is yet another chance for him to prove something that faithful fans of the actor have known for a long, long time: this dude can act. He’s generally known as a comedic actor with a brilliant talent for (often sarcastic) comic delivery, but as he showed in the remake of The Amityville Horror and now again in Buried, he can quite convincingly thrown down the gauntlet when it comes to dramatic performance.

This movie is often compared to the works of Alfred Hitchcock, and that is surprisingly not as crazy as it sounds. There’s a lot of play with lighting and shadows, and the suspense is laid on thick. This is not to say Hitchcock would give it the stamp of approval, but I’d imagine he’d ponder the film deeply enough to instill joy in the filmmakers.

Buried won’t be for everyone, but if you enjoy an intense story fueled by one impressive performance, this is certainly for you. Not everyone will want to own the movie after seeing it, but it’s one well-worth a viewing before you decide whether or not to add it to your film library.

SPECIAL FEATURES

There’s not a whole lot of special features to enjoy here, but it’s also not exactly the biggest movie ever to be made, to be fair.

My favorite special feature with any Blu-ray movie is a second copy of the movie on DVD — just in case you don’t always have Blu access or want to start your collection before obtaining a Blu player — and this you will find with Buried.

Apart from that, the only real feature is a making-of special that shows what went into making the movie. While this is the only real feature, these are always a great way to see what goes into making a movie happen and I always appreciate when they’re included with a DVD or Blu-ray.

I particularly enjoyed this making of because of how ridiculous the concept behind the movie was to begin. As the filmmakers make very clear at the start, it was 100% crazy to even attempt to make a movie with one actor completely set in a box. That said, seeing all the specialty coffins they made and how they made the movie work is truly remarkable. As I said, this is a movie that fans of filmmaking will need to see, and this making of feature adds to the appeal in many ways.

Trailer

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