Saturday, 2 October 2010

Buried - Dir. Rodrigo Cortes

It’d be somewhat of a travesty if Ryan Reynolds does not get acknowledged during the awards season for his brilliant and heart-rending portrayal of a father who wakes up and finds that he himself has been buried alive. Going into ‘Buried,’ the less the audience knows about the plot details of the film, the more it will enhance their enjoyment of the proceeding ninety minutes of cinematic screen time. Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) is a truck driver in Iraq who wakes up to find that he is buried alive. Who, why, where, and when, are all questions that are systematically explained throughout the course of the film. But, while the audience’s attention may hinge at times on the development of the narrative, it is the inventiveness of Cortes and the heart-felt performance by Reynolds that keeps the tension and the suspense of the film at a constant high throughout providing one of the best thrillers to see a theatrical release in years.

Cortes takes the minimalist, one-room concept to new heights as he provides only the confines of a basic coffin for the setting of a film. Continually providing diverse camera angles to explore the tiny locational hotspot, while differentiating from close-up to medium shots, allows the audience to be drawn into Conroy’s horrifying situation and encounter each obstacle with the character himself. The lighting of the setting is also meticulously used to create mood and experience, Conroy is trapped within six panels of wood, and natural light is nowhere to be seen, so his use of artificial light is key his changing emotions and the narrative itself. And changing emotions is an understatement; Anger, sadness, surprise, fear, contempt, aggression, and submission, all develop and explode from under the surface of Conroy as he attempts to challenge one of man’s greatest mysteries; understanding the unknown. Reynolds gives quite possibly the performance of his career as he literally providing one-man-cinematic show, while his passionately explosive show-piece alongside the beautifully simplistic cinematography, editing and lighting create a film that keeps audiences on the edge of their seat for its entire duration.

‘Buried’ is an ambitious project, pulled off by an enthusiastic director which breathes a little life into the mystery thriller genre in general. Cortes and Reynolds essentially provide a two-man show that would eclipse most big-budget thrillers by simply sticking to an effective script, concept and performance. It does have its technological flaws, but if you can look past those ever-so-slightly unrealistic aspects, then ‘Buried’ is an incredibly enjoyable suspense-fuelled ride beyond the grave.
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