February 12, 2011

#119: Buried (6/10)

I don't like small spaces. I don't consider myself full-on claustrophobic, but I've never had a psychological analysis.  At the beginning of Buried there were a few moments where I didn't know if I was going to be able to continue watching.  Seeing a guy stuck in a casket was bad enough. Thinking about the earth weighing down on top of him as he pushed up on the lid was almost too much to take.  I was able to make it through, and I am glad  I did.

From beginning to end Buried takes place in the small, confined space of a wooden box.  It is so small that our protagonist can barely move. It is completely dark. There are no flash-backs or cut-aways to stuff going on in the outside world.  It doesn't sound like the most compelling setting for a thrilling movie.  It is most definitely an experiment in film making. I thought the experiment worked well. It offered a lot of excitement considering the situation.

Ryan Reynold is the star of the film, and the only person we see.  There are other actors that give voice performances via cell phone, his only connection to the outside world.  Reynolds plays a man put in a horrible situation.  You can't help but have sympathy for him. Interestingly, his predicament might be one of the only reasons to like this guy. You want him to get out of the box, but only because he has been screwed. He is a human being, and deserves to have the chance to live his life.  Nobody deserves to buried alive. I got the feeling if we saw this guy outside of his current situation, that I wouldn't care for him very much.  However, I was always rooting for him, for no other reason than I didn't want to see him suffer anymore.  It was an interesting personality to carry the film, and I think it made the movie watchable, even "enjoyable."

By the end of Buried I felt like I was watching an action movie.  That is insane because there is literally no action. The dude can't even move.  I was amazed by how well the overall experience worked for me. My wife even enjoyed it, which I never thought would happen with a film like Buried.  However, claiming you liked a movie even though *insert qualification*, isn't always a great thing. It is one of the best films I've seen that is set in a single location.  I've only seen a few, so it really isn't saying much.

The film only lasts 90 minutes. It is 90 minutes spent in a coffin, but definitely not 90 minutes wasted.  Actually we don't spend the entire time in the coffin with the character. Us viewers get a few moments of relief.  We get to pull back from the confined space and see the setting from a few feet above or to the side of the coffin.  We never get out of the darkness, but at least we feel like we can breathe. A very minor respite from the oppressive feeling inside the box.

Being buried alive is one of the worst things I could ever imagine happening. This film does an impressive job at conveying that panicked feeling of hopelessness. I will recommend Buried. Not everybody will enjoy the experience, but it is worth seeing.  I would have liked to have gotten more out of it, but that could be just as much my fault as the film's. I say check it out.

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