2010, Movies

Buried (2010, Rodrigo Cortes)

Presumably, because you know the title, you know what this movie is about. So I feel like it’s safe to discuss it without warning you. But, anyway, SPOILERS:

I think the inspiration for this extremely high concept film was probably The Vanishing (or its shitty remake); the writer watched it and thought ‘What if we started at the end?’ Sorry for that spoiler. Hopefully, you haven’t watched Mythbusters and are unaware what would really happen with a simple wooden coffin buried under lots of earth. Because, well, it doesn’t happen like this movie.

That’s not the only place where the audience has to suspend their disbelief. Reynolds’ character has access to an inordinate amount of stuff for a man trapped in a coffin; he has a lighter, a phone, some kind of florescence light bulb, a flashlight and, of course, his alcohol. (Oh yeah, he’s got a pen.) Basically he has everything he needs to make this movie more interesting than the real life situation would be, if it could indeed happen. Add a snake into the mix, and the fire he starts to kill that snake and there’s a lot of stuff we need to ignore. Also, those two long shots may look pretty, but they break the fourth wall literally and definitively.

All that being said, if you are willing to suspend your disbelief, this is a well-made, well-acted and pretty enjoyable one-room thriller, which rests entirely on Reynolds’ excellent performance. Due to the presence of the various devices, especially the phone, the film is also able to work in a critique of the US invasion of Iraq, a social comment aspect noticeably absent from The Vanishing, and, I would have assumed, any other movie featuring live burials.

So it’s definitely unrealistic and, in that sense, silly. But it’s good for what it is and, unlike so many other “high concept” films, its ending has the courage of the film’s convictions, meaning that we are not given the out that we are so often given at the last second in movies like this.


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