After an elaborate intro, the title “buried” disappears and the audience is left in total darkness. The following minutes are spent in said darkness and we can only hear the breathing and movement of a man, until he finally finds something that sounds like a lighter and the flame lets us see the picture of a man in a coffin…
Buried is a movie set entirely in a coffin and if it weren’t for Ryan Reynold’s salary it would probably be the cheapest movie ever made.
Yes, you read correctly “set entirely in a coffin”, this is not a “phone booth is set entirely in a phone booth” because we cut away to other people, this is not a “Saw is set entirely in a bathroom” because we have flashbacks and other stuff – no every frame you see in this movie comes from a camera inside the wooden box Reynolds is in.
Don’t worry, I won’t spoil any of the plot points in this review since Buried is a movie where the less you know the more interesting the movie will be. Like the original Saw movie this movie uses the plotdevice of a person waking up and not knowing why he got there to its advantage – waking up without any knowledge how one got here is a great way to build a connection between the character and the audience since we don’t know how he got there either and are beginning to puzzle our way through it.
But this is no Saw, at least not in the sense that there is a twisty interwoven backstory since any background information we get can only be told via Reynolds talking to somebody via his cell phone.
As the story progresses we learn more about the whys and hows that lead to this setting and I must admit that I had a big “WHAT THE HELL” moment when it was first hinted where this movie is set and what Reynold’s was doing, my warning lights just shrieked because with this kind of setting almost everything can go wrong and turn into propaganda… rest assured this is not the case with Buried.
Yes we can make a million more jokes about how “cheap” this movie must have been, but truth be told, I have tremendous respect for director Rodrigo Cortés and Cinematographer Eduard Grau (A Single Man). When framing a sequence the camerateam has to work their way around the fact that the audience can only look at a similar shot for so long.
A movie like Twelve Angry Men is a great example how this works: the entire movie is set in a room with twelve men, so the cinematographer had to find ways to give our eyes something new to look at and we forget that we are in the same room, we never grow tired of this fact – then again the script of Twelve Angry Men is already captivating enough even if it’s read by a 10 year old, but I should return to Buried.
Next to cinematography and direction, this movie features a script as exciting as it gets when you are telling the story entirely inside of a coffin. And on top of that Ryan Reynolds really surprises as an actor. I am really glad that I didn’t fall into a fanboy rant when it was announced that he would play Green Lantern because if he delivers like he did with Buried Green Lantern won’t fall flat in the acting department.
The only negative thing about this movie was the theater experience itself. As with many horror movies when watching it in the multiplex there are people feeling the need to comment on everything in the most idiotic way imaginable, so when the movie started with a black screen, there were comments of “I think the projector is broken” which might have been funny if the same group hadn’t repeated the same joke for about 4 time within 1.5 minutes… and when they realized that this joke might not have been the greatest thing since Godzilla vs King Ghidorah the inevitable “hehe is he masturbating” comments started going around…
Buried is a movie that is very heavily promoted here in Austria, quite a difference to America where it opened at number 41 with 100.000 $, so go figure.
With the massive promotion the movie is getting here people are bound to be looking at this movie as a straight up, be scared to the death horror movie. And with the attention span of the Resident Evil moviegoer which made up the 20 other people we were watching this movie, this movie might lead to comments like “well normally I don’t complain about movies but this was the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen”, which might be funny if it weren’t such a sad statement about the openness of the moviegoing public to a well-crafted, different movie, yet never boring movie.
Rating and moviequation: