Saturday, 10 December 2011

Buried (2010)

Ryan Reynolds is Paul Conroy, an American truck driver working in Iraq. Following an attack on his convoy he is kidnapped, and the film begins with Paul waking up in a coffin, buried 6 ft under. Director Rodrigo Cortés has made a remarkable film, he has managed to make a 90 minute film about one man in a box; and he has made it exciting and gripping too! Via some ingenious film-making and engineering techniques (apparently seven coffins were built), Cortés really leaves no part of the coffin un-explored. There is quite a tremendous moment when the camera tracks 360° round Reynolds, yet the coffin walls are all intact when we view the side opposite; very clever.

I have only recently seen Reynolds in Green Lantern, where I thought he looked bored most of the time; and a long time ago I saw him in Van Wilder: Party Liaison. In Buried he's fairly brilliant; it's just him, a phone, a Zippo, some glow-sticks and a torch for 90 minutes. He starts out desperate, and becomes increasingly desperate throughout the film; he is intense, very convincing and you don't for a second of his performance imagine that a camera and half a dozen people are looking in on him.

The situation is reminiscent of 127 hours and of James Franco's performance. However, where Franco's "journey" was edited along with flashbacks and self-analysis, there is nothing of the sort for Reynolds and nowhere for him to hide. Don't get me wrong I think Franco's performance is phenomenal too, it is just down to the different styles of story telling of Danny Boyle and Rodrigo Cortés.

Buried is really a wonderful example of inventive film-making: being able to make one man in a box fascinating is quite a challenge. Not just for director and actor, but DP, cameraman, sound department, everyone involved. The likes of Michael Bay could learn a thing or two; you don't need to just blow shit up to make an exciting film. Buried is a very tense, exciting and very well-crafted thriller, with quite an unexpected, memorable ending too.