Last week I wrote a post about the trailer for the film Buried. After extoling its brilliance, I decided I really had no excuse for having not seen the film, and so last weekend Buried and I set a date. Several days later, I’m still trying to recover. That’s not to say it was a bad movie; on the contrary it was probably one of the best I’ve seen in months, but its effect on me was so traumatizing, I’m literally having nightmares every night. It takes a lot for a film to get under my skin so thoroughly, but I have a feeling that that is exactly where Buried is going to stay for the foreseeable future.
To quickly recap, Buried is the story of an American truck driver, played by Ryan Reynolds, who is kidnapped in Iraq and buried alive in a coffin with only a cell phone and a lighter to keep him alive. The film is ninety minutes, runs in real time, and takes place entirely in the coffin. It’s just Reynolds, in a box, for ninety minutes. I was prepared for an intense film, and at times the suspense was almost agonizing, but what I wasn’t prepared for was the emotional punch the film managed to wield. Using just cell phone conversations, the film created a complete picture of a complex but relatable character and the relationships that fill his life. Mixed in with the terror were moments of tenderness that made me cry, and conflicts that more than once actually made me laugh out loud. The wide range of emotions elicited in this film surprised me, and made the process that much more intense, because the more I came to care about this character, the more I screamed at the TV as the minutes ticked down. Before watching, I figured there were only two outcomes for this film; either he lives or dies, but Buried managed one last surprise with a twist that hit me in the gut with such a force, I actually sat staring at the TV for a good twenty minutes after the credits had concluded, unsure of what to do next.
It is a shame that Buried did not receive a wider release in the United States, because it is an amazing film that should be studied by film students as a master work in minimalist filmmaking. Moreover, Ryan Reynolds’ performance is truly astonishing and deserves to be seen. I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it must have been to film this movie, and when a visitor showed up in the coffin at about the sixty minute mark I began to consider the notion of actor abuse. How Reynolds emerged from that film shoot without having a mental breakdown I’ll never know. He may be having a rough year at the moment with both Green Lantern and The Change Up getting beat up at the box office, but after watching his mesmerizing performance in Buried, I have no doubts regarding his talent as an actor. As for the film itself, I would recommend it to everyone because it really is an incredibly well made film, but this recommendation comes with a warning. Buried is intense, shocking, heartbreaking, and its effect on the viewer is not to be taken lightly. A good film stays with you, and I know I won’t be shaking Buried any time soon. I just wish the nightmares would stop.