{2jtab: Movie Review}

Buried Movie Review


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5 Stars

Imagine an hourglass. It’s running out of time. Quickly. The emptying of every grain of sand from one side to the other is the only amount of time in which you have to live.  And the sand is quickening in its fall. Yet, this hourglass is different.  You aren’t looking from the outside inward.  It is life-size.  It encases you. The sand falls upon you; burying you alive. Until…there is only darkness. Bleak and hopeless, with no time left. And it is within this prolonged darkness in which Buried, directed Rodrigo Cortés, comes alive in purpose.

Ryan Reynolds is Paul Conroy, an American civilian contractor, who awakens to find himself buried alive beneath the desert sands of Iraq.  He is a hostage and the wooden coffin lid is his sky.  He has a foreign cell phone and a bag of limited supplies – in which to make a video for his ransom – left by his captors. The phone begins to ring and so begins the claustrophobic nightmare that is his reality.  He must reach out to his connections in America. Strangers, too. Plead and beg for his someone to rescue him. But he's a Nobody.  And the $1 million ransom for his release is likely to go unpaid. His survival is up to him. It’s a heart-pounding, teeth-gnashing two hours that seemingly fly right on by, and yet, like Paul Conroy, the audience never sees the light of day.

This is a one-man show.  Seriously, we never leave the coffin. Never once. The only light source is from the lighter, the cell phone, and a flashlight.  There is no sun. No interruptions.  And, as a result, Reynolds must do everything. And he does. Reynolds is an absolute triumph, going from panic to laughter to dead-on terror all within the same few moments. There are other voices. We hear them through the phone, provided by the talents of Anne Lockhart, Robert Paterson, Stephen Toblowsky, Samantha Mathis, and José Luis García Pérez (as Conroy's subjugator). Yet, it is Reynolds performance that makes it all work. It is a calculated performance that deserves every ounce of your attention and appreciation. Worthy of a standing ovation?  I think so. Throughout the tense-filled moments of Buried is an actor in fine form, both guttural in brute rawness and as peaceful as an unmoving river when all hope seems lost. The moods of an anxiety-ridden Conroy go up and down, up and down, like a life-threatening rollercoaster, and it is Reynolds who carries the burden of bringing this grave fear - of being buried alive - to the audience.

Buried is truly a cinematic triumph in concept and execution.  The handling of the camera by Eduard Grau and the intricate direction by Cortés reveals a true creativity unseen by most of the directors working in mainstream Hollywood. Produced by foreign investors, Buried was a hit at Sundance and, hopefully, will continue to be appreciated by the public in spite of its edginess and wicked capacity. The camera, also confined to the coffin, is never still for long and the film, also edited by Cortés, reaches a creative zenith that both revels in the brutality of the situation and reveals the unlimited scope of danger inherent in the script written by Chris Sparling with tight cuts, unexpected pans and a couple of brilliant exaggerated sequences that express the hopelessness of Conroy’s situation.

While the ending may leave some audience members unsettled and others clutching their chests, Buried is worth the concentrated trip, even if it is confined to four small walls and, ultimately, the tracking of the battery life in Conroy’s cell phone. This is a dark film with little light. For some, it may be too straining of an event. For the stronger, Buried is comparable only to the best episodes of Serling’s Twilight Zone.  Nail-biting. Fearless. Edgy. Completely shocking. Regardless of the statement made in the film’s final moments, Buried, like the well-designed brilliant highs of a Hitchcock film, will leave you gasping for air.


{2jtab: Film Info}

Buried Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: R for language and some violent content.
Director: Rodrigo Cortés
: Chris Sparling
Cast: Ryan Reynolds; Stephen Tobolowsky; Samantha Mathis
Genre: Drama | Thriller
Tagline: Paul Conroy Isn't Ready To Die.
Distributor: Lionsgate
Memorable Movie Quote:
"These threats are real and they will be followed through on"
Release Date: September 24, 2010
Blu-ray Release Date:
January 18, 2011.

Synopsis: Paul Conroy is not ready to die. But when he wakes up 6 feet underground with no idea of who put him there or why, life for the truck driver and family man instantly becomes a hellish struggle for survival. Buried with only a cell phone and a lighter, his contact with the outside world and ability to piece together clues that could help him discover his location are maddeningly limited. Poor reception, a rapidly draining battery, and a dwindling oxygen supply become his worst enemies in a tightly confined race against time - fighting panic, despair and delirium, Paul has only 90 minutes to be rescued before his worst nightmare comes true.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Details}


Buried Blu-ray Movie Review

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
5 Stars

1 stars

Blu-ray Experience
3 Stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - January 18, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
: English, English SDH, Spanish
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1
25GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); DVD copy

Cast in dark hues throughout the picture, Buried isn’t a visual stunner. I mean, he’s in a coffin so it’s going to be dark. There are light sources and when the orange from the lighter or the green glow from the light sticks hit Reynolds’s face, then the grittiness of the picture is revealed in an AVC codec 1080p transfer. Black levels are consistently sharp, but do reveal some of the limitations of the budget in awkward passes when all lights go out. There is a limit to sound throughout the film, but it certainly kicks with a fleshy thump when it matters utilizing rear and sub-woofer impact to create a unique sound field.



  • Sadly, there is none.

Special Features:

Here’s where we really get the short end of the stick. There is but one special feature: a brief ‘Making Of’ joint that, while explains how some of the shots were rendered, doesn’t really give enough information on the film.

The special features include the following:

  • Unearthing Buried (18 min)
  • Teaser trailer
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • DVD Copy


{2jtab: Trailer}