Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) is a U.S. contractor based in Iraq. He wakes up and finds himself buried six-feet-under in a wooden crate, with nothing to soothe him except a phone that is set in a language he doesn’t understand and a zippo lighter that’s consuming the very air he’s breathing.
To say this movie is every claustrophobic’s worst nightmare is an understatement. The movie runs for over 90 minutes and features nothing but Paul Conroy inside his coffin. The only hint of an outside world comes in the form of many phone calls that are made, to help move the movie forward, and provide Paul Conroy with a way to seek salvation.
You cannot but draw similarities between this movie and 127 Hours. After all, they both rely heavily on one lead, the rest of the actors/characters being only very secondary to the overall picture. And similarly to 127 Hours, Buried features a very strong performance by Reynolds. I had no idea he had it in him, to be honest, after the series of romantic comedies he was in. However, to say that he comes within a remote distance of Franco’s epic performance in 127 Hours is a gross overstatement. If anything, Buried further cements the idea that not every actor/actress can handle this type of movies, which makes Franco’s feat even more impressive.
Buried is a movie that drags its main character to the depths of fear and despair and drags you down with him as well. And although it doesn’t rely on taking the settings of the movie outside the box it’s set in, the movie wouldn’t have gone anywhere except for the interactions between Paul Conroy and the people he calls, similarly to 127 Hours’ use of flashbacks and imaginative sequences. It is, however, an out-of-the-box movie, for all matters and purposes.
Buried, however, falls into yet another common mistake that most American movies make when dealing with Arabic and that is disconnecting the letters of the language. You’d think they would invest a little money or effort into actually using the correct form of the language. Moreover, towards the end of the movie, Buried starts to get politicized, and ordinarily so, with subtle commentaries about the situations ordinary men go through in states of war.
Buried’s final twist comes in its ending. Many people thought it was horrible. I thought it was imaginative. Not many movies of the sort dare to go into the type of ending that Buried features.
Overall, Buried is a movie that is constantly faithful to the concept it builds itself upon. It doesn’t deviate from it, even though it comes close to at times. Reynolds rises to the mantle of the task at hand, especially after the modest expectations I had. The movie’s script is very meticulous as well, showing an ordinary man reacting to the worst possible nightmare in a terrific way. Buried is a movie that lets you sink with it, into the desert sands of Iraq. And sink in, you do.