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DVD Review: Buried

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After watching the film Buried, I have gained a new respect for Ryan Reynolds as an actor. After all, not many actors could lie in a box for 90 minutes of screen time and carry the film through their talent and some maddening conversations.

The film clearly came from a clever idea that the writer had: what would happen if you woke up in a coffin with no idea how you’d got there and all you had on you was a phone and a lighter? (By the way, at this point I should probably mention that if you’re claustrophobic, this is really not your type of film.) 

There are other people in the film, most notably the kidnapper, and Reynolds isn’t the only actor we actually see, but most of the dialogue comes from telephone conversations between Reynolds and various actors playing uncooperative telephone operators. These work because they’re frustrating for both the character and the viewer, because you want them to help him.

A moment that I really appreciated was when he first finds out that he has the mobile phone. Anyone who sets their mobile to vibrate will have jumped when their phone goes off on the floor. Now apply that to a coffin.

The special features on the DVD are a commentary over the film, a makin-of featurette (“Unearthing Buried,” if you see what they did there) and an interview with the director, Rodrigo Cortes. The making-of is pretty interesting, showing you how they achieved certain shots and how they had seven different coffins for different scenes. They also show you how a full-grown man can turn inside a coffin. The interview with the director is worth watching for the unintentional comedy value alone, as Cortes almost gleefully explains that they “legally mistreated [Reynolds]” and “he arrived back in LA with blood and bruises,” as well as saying that he wanted the theatregoer to feel “it” (presumably the tension and power of the movie) in their balls.

Moving swiftly on, on reflection I feel that the best part of the movie was the end. Not because it finally did end, as some of my more snark-inclined readers might suggest, but because the end felt more realistic, and anything else would be too cheesy and conventional, to be honest. It’s part of why it works so well as a film, as it has you really feeling for the character, and amps up the feeling of fear that the viewer is supposed to get. I worked out what was going to happen about two minutes from the end, in a flash of inspiration and the knowledge that it was just that kind of film.

If you like being scared by situations that are not that far outside the realm of possibility, then this is definitely the film for you. If you’re not the kind of person who wants to watch Ryan Reynolds in a coffin for 90 minutes, then think about this: before this, neither was I.

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About Scott Varnham

  • I agree with everything you’ve said, especially about the ending. When I watched it at the theatre I heard some people grunt when it happened. I even heard a girl say “This is Bullshit!!”. In my opinion any other ending would’ve been, as you’ve said, too cheesy and would’ve completely broken the overall dark tone of the film.