Tuesday, 28 September 2010


Icon Film Distribution
Now Showing

A man in a box doesn't sound like a premise for gripping cinema, but from the Hitchcockian opening credits and score, Rodrigo Cortes's Buried will have you hooked (pinned, even) for its 90-minute running time.

Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) awakens to find himself in a wooden box with nothing but a mobile phone and flashlight for company. He remembers his convoy (Paul's in Iraq helping rebuild that country) was attacked by insurgents and now (a voice on said phone informs him) he's being held for ransom.

Buried plays out in real time, as Paul grapples with his predicament, frantically calling family, friends, the company that sent him to Iraq and even a UN hostage negotiator (sounding a lot like American Idol's Simon Cowell – not a reassuring voice at the best of times), all of whom either alleviate or compound his mounting dread; the mobile phone simultaneously becoming his best friend and his worst enemy.

Cortes takes this high concept (apparently the script had been kicking around for a while) and makes it work, not just as an exercise in logistics but as gripping cinema, although admittedly not one for sufferers of ADHD or claustrophobia. There are moments which stretch credibility (A snake? Really?), an understandable attempt to up the ante, but for the most part I was there with Reynolds in that box.

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