Wednesday, August 31, 2011

BURIED (2010)

It seems like Ryan Reynolds has apparently made a career out of romantic comedies. Go to a Blockbuster (if there's any still around) and walk over to the romance aisle and close your eyes. Pick out a random DVD and there's a good chance it'll have his face with a quirky smile, his arm around some chick, and a fantastic title like Definitely, Maybe. If you're really lucky, the cover might even have some kids on it. Luckily, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Now that he's becoming richer and more famous, he's been taking on better (better as in, more fighting, shooting, exploding things, etc) roles like Deadpool, a Blade sequel and the upcoming Green Lantern.

 Buried is one of his latest movies, and is simply one of the most tense and exciting movies to come out in 2010. Normally when you hear the words "foreign" and "Indie," you think of shitty dramas or some hipster art film about a girl who collects dead birds and falls in love with a gay record store owner. Thankfully, there's no need for such worrying here.  The premise of the movie is simple enough: Paul Conroy is an American truck driver, working as a contractor in war torn Iraq. He wakes up one day, much to his chagrin, inside a fucking coffin. Spanish director Rodrigo Cortés manages to make 94 minutes of a guy stuck inside a box seem like a roller coaster ride. ¡Viva España!

The movie starts with no introduction and no explanation. Paul wakes up in the pitch black, fumbles around and has a panic attack. He finds his lighter, flicks it on, and to his horror realizes he is inside a coffin. At first, he has absolutely no idea why he's been.... well, you know, buried alive. To his surprise, his BlackBerry is still on him. Piece by piece he manages to recreate what happened to him the day. He remembers that the convoy he was driving in was ambushed by insurgents. The rest of the drivers were murdered, and Paul had such shit luck the Iraqis decided to have a good laugh and bury him alive. He manages to get in contact with the FBI, his employers, and eventually his wife. Things however, might not be exactly as they seem. At first, no one believes his story. His employers are somewhat sketchy, the FBI investigator doesn't sound too convincing, and to make things worse, he gets a phone call from the asshole terrorist who put him in the box to begin with. Oh yeah, the guy wants a $5 million ransom or he'll let Paul suffocate to death.  

Paul will have to deal with the FBI trying to find him, the terrorists trying to get their ransom, his employers trying to wash their hands of the whole ordeal, and the slow death of his cell phone battery. There's a few good twists around the halfway part of the movie that had me wanting to high five someone. Needless to say, this is an intense movie. Scenes move quickly, and things begin to spiral out of control at what seems to be a frantic pace. Reynolds does a great job with his role, as we see Paul run through the whole gamut of emotions you'd expect from some poor average guy stuck in the middle of some Middle Eastern hellhole, buried in a box underground and tortured over the phone by a gruff voiced Iraqi. Despite the limited setting, the camera moves around a lot, and there are some very cool scenes inside the coffin, which contrasts nicely with the drama that comes from Paul's phone conversations. 

Although it's somewhat of an unknown indie film, Buried was among the best movies of 2010 - it stuck to its premise very well and delivered a fresh take on the thriller genre that lately has been turning out loads of crap upon crap. It's fun. It's thrilling. It's somewhat unpredictable. Reynolds does a stand-up job and keeps your attention despite the fact you'd expect people would get sick of seeing a single face throughout the entire movie. The pacing is very fast, the tension very well done, and the ending was one of the most satisfying I've seen in a long while. It's a shame this flick went under the radar for most people. Definitely recommended.

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