Saturday, 8 January 2011

Buried Film Review

I thought this would be quite an interesting idea when I first heard of it~ a sort of tense thriller~ but it falls short of my expectations and misses the mark.


~~~THOUGHTS ON PLOT~~~
Truck driver Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) wakes up buried in a coffin with a lighter and a cell phone. The last thing he remembers is being shot at by Iraqis. Called by his captor, Paul is told that he must produce 5 million US dollars (he calls them monies, so I assume it's US money) in a few hour's time or he will be left to die. 


Paul tries to reach out to the world for his rescue, only to be told that the "situation" is being contained and for him to stay calm. Frustrated, Paul submits to his captor's requests of making a ransom video, only to be scrutinised by the contact Dan Brenner who says is trying to locate him. As Oxygen is running out, it is a race against time if Paul is to survive. Will he continue to do as his captor's say, try to make his own way out or sit tight and wait to be rescued? 


The beginning was extremely dull. 10-15 minutes before Paul finally realises his position and starts doing something about it. I think this could have been reduced significantly given we all know he's in a box already (trailer, hello?) and watched it to see how he got out. 


From this point onwards, the pace was also somewhat slow, even though the film tries to make you jump with certain loud noises and sudden changes, but this didn't make it much more exciting. Realism aside, the only moment where I did feel slightly tense and claustrophobic myself was when a snake somehow slithered out of his trouser leg. I don't know if they did it for comedic effect, but it certainly wasn't the time for Paul to let his snake out of his cage.

I will praise the cinematography for trying to make it as tense as possible- the different camera angles do work, but there are obvious mistakes in several shots where the torch light shows the height of the box much higher than it should be when camera zooms out from above. Only a small thing.

Another annoying thing is that there is too much flickering where the view is obscured. Whilst this portrays realism in a man's struggle to turn on a torch or use the lighter, it drags on for too long and makes uninteresting cinema. However, one thing I do like A LOT is the variation in colour produced by the different objects he finds in the box- this heightens the atmosphere and excels the movie into a more artistic realm.


I expected the film to be much more tense and deep than it really was. Retrospectively, I just wasted an hour and a half watching a man make calls from a cell phone. Potentially, it could all have been a set up/conspiracy and he was put there by the US. Alternatively, it could be some messed up game like SAW or EXAM, where he will have to find clues in the box to aid his escape. I thought it would go down this route but that didn't happen. 

The ending didn't really shock me. I didn't like it but I felt that if it went the other way, it would be completely anti-climatic and almost "too easy", wasting all of Paul's efforts and mental strain. The whole film could have gone in a stronger direction, but for what they made it to be, it was a suitable ending.

~~~CAST~~~
Ryan Reynolds- Paul Conroy
Voices by Stephen Tobolowsky, Samantha Mathis and Jose Luis Garcia Perez.


Ryan Reynolds received quite positive reviews for his performance. Of course he did, the viewer just sat through an hour and a half of him! However, yes, he did do tension and fear well, though I wouldn't say it was a phenomenal performance. 

The voice of the captor which I think is done by Luis Garcia Perez was good though, definitely believed he was evil and uncompromising!

~~~OVERALL~~~
Not all good films have to contain explosives and expensive car chases, as proven by low budget hits such as The Disappearance of Alice Creed. However, this movie which is paying for Ryan Reynolds in a box, a few calls from a blackberry, snake hire and sand doesn't manage to make good cinema. 

A few tense scenes are present, but the overall plot is lacking depth and mystery. An integrated conspiracy or psychological game would've fared better in my opinion. This film instead emphasises the psychological fear and claustrophobia of a man buried alive and his fight for survival.

Simply put, this film is an hour and a half of a man in a box.

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