It has been almost exactly a week since I was able to see a screening of Buried at Fantastic Fest. The screening was held on September 23, 2010 at the Paramount theatre in Austin, Texas. Director Rodrigo Cortes and Ryan Reynolds were in attendance to introduce the movie and do a Q and A afterwards. Unfortunately, Ryan was late to the red carpet and the movie started without him, almost 45 minutes late. Considering it was a 10 PM screening, everyone was a little tired, and I know I was getting impatient for the movie to start. Rodrigo ended up introducing the movie without Ryan and you could see right off the bat, this director has a very humorous side to him. He pulled a Princess Bride line out of the air which the audience appreciated.
Within the first two minutes of Buried, I understood why the second trailer was done as it was. The opening credits are exactly like the second trailer. I expected to have some scenes leading up to Ryan Reynolds’ character Paul Conroy being put in a coffin or box, but nope it is straight to the only backdrop for the entire movie. This movie will not be as effective at home watching the DVD on TV in the middle of the day. Buried opens only to sounds of Paul Conroy waking up in a dark box. You see nothing until he finds his zippo lighter.
The plot is pretty simple. Paul Conroy is a supply truck driver for a contractor in Iraq. His convoy was hit by an IED and he was knocked out. He awakens in a box buried in the ground with only a few tools and supplies. He has no other means of getting fresh oxygen, so he has a time limit to his stay in the box or he will die. The most helpful tool he finds is a Blackberry cell phone. It is ironic that this lifesaving cell phone becomes an utter frustration to Paul and the audience. The frustration is permeable every time he tries to call someone or try to remember a number. Have you ever talked to a complete idiot on the phone before? Well, Paul seems to know every single one of them. Paul eventually is told that he is being held for ransom by some terrorists in Iraq. The film also takes place on October 23, 2006 as we learn in one of the phone conversations.
Considering the only thing on the screen is Ryan Reynolds in a box the entire runtime of Buried, the movie is surprisingly good. Ryan Reynolds has to display a full array of emotions throughout the film. This is Reynolds’ first time carrying a movie on his own, and he did a great job. Like I have mentioned already, he is the only person on the screen the entire time. You hear other actors on the phone, but Reynolds is the only face of Buried. The film is a success because the moviegoers can go through all of the emotions at the same time. You can put yourself in that situation and think “What would I do?” Those audience members that are claustrophobic or have a fear of being buried alive, this may not be the best Friday night movie to see, as I am sure they will be uncomfortable. One psychological twist in the movie which I did not pick up on, but my astute mother did, is that the box first is someplace Paul wants to escape, but in the end, it turns into a safe place. I will not spoil the ending for anyone, but you will most definitely be rooting for him to get out of the box at the end. I believe I had a bit of a tension headache at the end.
After the end of the movie, there was a Q and A session with Cortes and Reynolds. The movie was shot in Spain in Barcelona. This is a Spanish movie, which is readily apparent by the funding titles in the opening credits. Reynolds explained how this screenplay was actually on a screenplay black list because it was a great screenplay but it was impossible to film. They obviously found a way.
It took the crew fifteen minutes to get Reynolds out of the box if he needed to get out. He was also responsible for all of the lighting in the film. They shot on average 30 plus shots a day with a maximum of 50 plus shots in one day. I ended up getting to ask the last question for the Q and A. I did not think I was going to get called on because I was all the way in the balcony, but success! Thomas from Black Magic Rollercoaster actually captured my question on video and put a nice little montage of the Q and A on Youtube. The video can be found below this post. I can say that Ryan Reynolds is just as funny in person as he is in his films. I hope that this is one DVD that the behind-the-scenes feature will not be left out. I am truly curious to see film on how this movie was done.
I would highly encourage everyone to go out and see and support this truly unique and original film.
I give Buried 4 “Zippo lighters” out of 5.