Buried (2010)

(In theaters, October 2010) Anyone who admires a bit of cinematographic audacity should flock to see Buried, a minor tour-de-force in thriller moviemaking.  It has one rule, and it’s daring: The entire film features one character, stuck in a coffin.  There are a few refinements, including a high-tech smartphone, but that’s essentially it.  Not cutaways to outside shots, no flashbacks, no fantasy sequences.  At most, there are a few bright lights and cuts to the phone to show some video.  As a device, it’s remarkably effective at leashing us alongside the character as he attempts to understand what’s happening to him, and contact the outside world to help him get out of there.  Claustrophobic to the extreme, Buried has the luxury to fully explore its options, milk its premise for all it’s worth and create a deep sense of unease for its audience.  As the quasi-sole actor in the film, Ryan Reynolds is up to the mesmerizing nature of the premise, and easily holds the audience’s interest throughout the experience.  The film is more interesting for longer than anyone would expect, in no small part due to Chris Sparling’s clever script and Rodrigo Cortés’s inventive direction.  Low-budget but high-impact, Buried may falter a bit during an obvious and disappointing climax, but otherwise escapes judgement to become a pure cinema experience.

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