Thursday, September 23, 2010
I wanted this to be a physical experience for the audience… you need to perceive the heat and the darkness and the sound and the sweat…yes, you’ll see the movie with your eyes, but also with your bones and your muscles and your whole skin… to leave the theater exhausted… explains Director Rodrigo Cortes (Cinema Blend ) during an interview for his one location, one person film, Buried.
Mission accomplished. I know that’s how I felt watching Ryan Reynolds in a pine box, with no room to sit up, or turn around, with barely room to turn at all, desperately trying to contact the outside world for rescue. There’s no let up, we are just there with him the whole 94 minutes. There’s interesting camera work. (Cinematographer, Eduard Grau,) Effective angles, like one pull away shot with Reynolds head twisted backward in the glow of the cell phone light, an “L” shaped shadow outlining a corner of the coffin, but otherwise it’s as if we are trapped right there with him. There are no flashbacks, no outside of the coffin shots, no cut away to the person on the phone. When the movie started almost everyone in the audience thought there was a technical glitch; for a good 45 seconds the screen is just completely blank without sound.
Finally the sound of breathing and movement and eventually the click of a lighter. The idea being Reynold’s character, Paul Conroy, discovers he’s buried alive at the same time as the audience. The rest of his story is cleverly revealed to us through phone conversations, once he’s alerted to the fact that he’s been buried with a cell phone, although not his own.
Paul Conroy is a civilian truck driver with CRT, a US company with I assume, government contracts to be operating in Iraq. Job hazards are a part of the deal when working in a country at war; however, it seems Paul’s job delivering supplies has been relatively safe until this fateful day when his convoy is ambushed and he’s knocked unconscious, waking up buried.
Surprisingly, a lot can take place inside a confined space, but I won’t give away spoilers. Some of the phone calls I felt had too much levity, however Cortes feels the structure of Chris Sparling’s screenplay in the mistreatment of his main character, lends itself to a bit of comedy. I suppose I see his point, rather like Tom Hanks in Cast Away, whose “friend” Wilson, the soccer ball, makes for humor. In fact, Paul’s companion is not as much the people he talks to on the cell phone as the cell phone itself, with it’s abrasive vibrating hum.
The woman sitting next to me left partway through the film, she said she couldn’t take it anymore, but I feel Buried has the possibility of being a sleeper hit like Paranormal Activity. For a film that was made for under 2mil and shot in 17 days, wouldn’t that be a coup!
Tinsel & Tine (Reel & Dine): Philly Film, Food & Events Blog