My Synopsis: Ryan Reynolds is buried alive in a wooden box in order to bring us an hour and a half one man show, and pulls it off!
When my Creepercast cohort (Jason) brought this movie to my attention I was apprehensive. First, it bothered me this movie would only be shown in select theaters and apparently not at any place where either of us could go see it. If you listen to one of our episodes late last year you'll hear he and I make a pact to review both it - to be presented by Jason, and 'Let Me In' - to be presented by me, alas, here it is four months later and I only recently managed to publish a review for 'Let Me In' here but promise to make a show out of it in the near future. Hopefully Jason will still be presenting his take on 'Buried' in an upcoming show as well. In the meantime I will attempt to give my take on the movie in the following paragraphs. Secondly, I had several misgivings as to whether or not even the great Mr. Reynolds could pull off a one man show of such magnitude and still be able to keep the audience interested. As you will soon discover in my review.
I was dead wrong about all my misgivings. At three minutes into the movie I was pretty sure I wasn't. The next time I bothered to look at the clock 45 minutes had flown by. That's how sucked into the movie I had become. Here are some reasons why... The primary fear being played with is obviously claustrophobia. It is one of those fears I have but was sure the director and Ryan wouldn't be able to make me share with them. Unfortunately for me I was wrong, but still I watched spellbound waiting for the spell to broken by something ridiculous. It never happened. With that said...
Ryan Reynolds is trapped in a coffin buried in the Iraqi dessert with a cell phone, a flask, his anxiety medication, a zippo lighter, a pen, and I knife. I hope I'm forgetting anything because each item becomes a character as well. Especially the cell phone. It is the method by which we learn about the man known as Paul Conroy, why he is there and all his strengths and weaknesses. All via his conversations with those he calls in the hopes of someone finding him and rescuing him from certain suffocating death. We share in his frustrations dealing with his employer and government officials, we go through the 5 stages of death with him. We suffer every moment from the realization his team of contractors had been attacked by insurgents, his many arguments with the terrorist that may or may not let him go, and the heartbreaking conversation he finally has with his wife. And as silly as it may sound, I couldn't help but hold my breath and freeze when the black asp crawled in by my...errr... his feet.
Giving the subject matter the entire film felt like a ripped from the headlines true story. Therefore I pretty much figured I knew how it was going to end and was pretty confident that there wasn't much Ryan and the director could do that would make me feel like it could possibly end any differently. I was wrong about that too. This movie seriously plays with your emotions and I was batting 0 in expectations. On the true story angle I was also wrong, I could find no news articles that could tie in with the story. That's how good this film is. But here's what I did find out...
Nobody wanted to back this movie, mostly because they had as much confidence in Reynolds acting ability as I did. When it finally got some money it was filmed over 17 days in Barcelona Spain by fringe director Rodrigo Cortes and penned by on the edge writer/director Christopher Sparling. The film cost less than 2 million to make. Did amazingly at Sundance but only took in 18 million at the box office (that's after a mediocre short run and less than that national - I can't help but wonder how well it would've done if it was marketed as "ripped from the headlines?') Still, it comes very highly critically acclaimed, it always seems to be those that are truly the best films. All I can say is Van Wilder has turned into an amazing actor under the right direction.
So the next question is how do I rate and recommend this movie? Well the rating is easy and I think, for the first time ever, I will be glad a movie did not meet my expectations, especially when I expected the worst. Ryan and co. took me on an emotional roller coaster that left me struck dumb and hating the guy who suggested I watch it. I let him know by the way. After watching it during my 2 hour break between news segments I was so wrung out the only way I could go back to late night news was by taking out my frustrations on poor Jason. It began with a text in which I simply said "I hate you for sharing!" which I followed up with a post on facebook.com/creepercast in which I reiterated such hatred and explained myself for doing so. Then, a few days later, I told my boss (a fellow film lover) all about this hardly known mind screw. I did it in pretty much the same way I am doing so now, without giving away any of the important story elements that will wrench your soul. This was enough for them to put it in the Netflix cue. A week later do you know what they said to me (after obviously having seen it)? That's right, my own words to Jason came back to haunt me. For some reason hearing his gave me some sick satisfaction. It was like my inspiring someone else to be psychologically messed up by the movie that affected me in the same way was strangely cathartic.
Thus I recommend this movie to everyone with all my heart! Leave lots of 'I hate you' messages either here or on the Creepercast Facebook! It is far from the worst movie I've suggested and worth all of your hatred. Then I recommend you pass it on and see if your friends hatred isn't just as cathartic for you!
Til next we bleed,
Please purchase this or any other movie I have mentioned via the Creepercast amazon link. This one can be found at