Sunday, 10 July 2016

Buried (4 Stars)

There have been a few films about being buried alive. The most famous is "The Vanishing", a Dutch film made in 1988. A far inferior remake was made five years later, spoilt by inexplicable changes to the ending. Then the Bride was buried alive in "Kill Bill" (Vol 2) in 2004. "Buried", made in 2010, pushes the concept to the extreme by showing a person trapped in a coffin for the whole film.

Ryan Reynolds plays Paul Conroy, a truck driver delivering kitchen equipment to Iraq. His convoy is ambushed and most of the other drivers killed. He wakes up to find himself trapped in a coffin. His captors have given him a mobile phone, a flashlight and a few other items to keep him alive. He is being held hostage for one million dollars. If the money isn't paid by 9pm he will be left to suffocate.

I have one piece of advice for my readers. If you watch the film, make sure that the room you are sitting in is completely blacked out and the only light comes from the television screen. This is the best way to experience the claustrophobia of the small coffin. There are moments in the film when the lights go out and the picture is black. Let the room go black around you as you wait for the light to go on again.

Ryan Reynolds puts on an excellent performance as the only person we see in the film. Apart from him we only hear voices on the phone. The film is similar in style to "Locke", in which Tom Hardy sits alone in a car while talking on the phone. It's a strongly political film. Paul Conroy is a pawn in a bigger game. Effectively, not only his Iraqi captors but also the American officials he contacts are his enemies.

It's an unsettling film, not easy to watch. Having said that, it's a very good film, one that you won't be able to get out of your head for a long time.

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