Alex's Sundance 2010 Review: Rodrigo Cortés' Buried

January 24, 2010

Buried Review

I think I might have just found my favorite film of Sundance. We're only three or so days in, but this is at the top of my list, for now. Earlier tonight I caught the midnight world premiere of Rodrigo Cortés' Buried, the stuck-in-a-coffin film starring Ryan Reynolds. In short, it was phenomenal. The film already has plenty of early buzz because we've been talking about it since Reynolds was cast last year. I already knew it was set entirely inside a coffin where Reynolds is stuck and buried, but the big question is if they could actually pull off a 90 minute film set entirely in a coffin. They did. They not only pulled it off, but it's an amazing film.

Buried is, indeed, a one-man show starring Ryan Reynolds and only Ryan Reynolds. I'm not going to talk a lot about what happens, because the best way to experience this is without any of it being spoiled. Reynolds plays a contract truck driver working in Iraq who wakes up in a wooden coffin buried underground. He only has a lighter and a cell phone and that's it. That's where it starts and it goes from there. Remarkably, Cortés and Reynolds make the film riveting for all 94 minutes even though it's set entirely in this coffin. You may not believe now that a film set in a location like that could be this amazing, but you will when you see it.

The script, the direction, the acting, the story, all of it was top-notch. It was extremely intense from start to finish. Just imagine waking up inside a coffin, what would you do? I loved the way Cortés shot this using practical lighting like the cell phone and lighter and that's it. It's a very bold film, it starts out pitch black without any dialogue for at least five minutes. Reynolds wakes up screaming. And when there are no lights on around him, it's black. No ambient lighting, nothing. It's so well thought out that there was no room for error. And the progression of the story is absolutely brilliant. Your heart will be racing right until the end.

I loved Buried. If a film can actually make me feel for the character, really draw me in emotionally, make me sad at all the right times, excited at others, and put me on the edge of my seat right through to the end, then I know it's a great film. Buried did that. I only had a few small nitpicky problems with it, mainly pertaining to some scenes near the end which I can't talk about, but besides those I thought it was brilliant. There's really no way to compare Buried to anything else because it's such a unique film. It stands on its own as a piece of incredible filmmaking that will be talked about for years to come. See this the first chance you get.

Alex's Sundance Rating: 9.5 out of 10

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  • rowdy
    i hope this one (and especialy splice) get picked up soon cause these sound like the movies that could make 2010 that and i realy want to see these feaking movies
  • dex
    Wow, I'll take your words on this movie when it comes out Alex. If its a bummer expect a hate mail from me. Cos i'm still skeptical one man in a coffin for 90 minutes, guess i gotta wait for it
  • [A]
    Wow! Now I can't wait to see it.
  • M
    thanks for the review
  • sean
    ALEX - I found a picture of you on google and much to my surprise, you look EXACTLY the way I pictured you. On Topic: Can't wait to see "Buried." I only wish I hadn't read the script because its tragically perfect ending has basically been ruined for me.
  • Daniel
    Thanks for the review. I'll catch this when this comes out :)
  • Jason
    i read the sripct it was so good i loved every one of the 80 pages
  • Ken
    "You're" is in the English language, doesn't make sense in the line but "you're = you are" Now who's the Nazi 😛
  • Scott McHenry
    Reynolds just became one of my favorite actors. That man has more range than just about any actor out there.
  • germsq
    Now I'm excited for this one.
  • cineprog
    Just alittle nit pick would is lighter and is phone light last 94 mins if it was constant, sounds ok though.
  • ron
    wide release day yet?
  • M
    Interesting, I might check this out, not really because of your review, because I would like to see how they make a film entirely based in a coffin. Does it have a wide release date?
  • People's Champ
    Should be better than the flick about those 3 idiots who are stuck on a ski lift.
  • Xerxex
    KNEW IT!
  • cine_phil
    Sounds interesting, will be on my watchlist :-).
  • Fisherr
    I really want to see this movie.
  • Dan the Man
    Told you so Xerxex! very special film I say!
  • talli
    did they address the lighter thing in the movie?? Fire uses up oxygen, so technically, it'd be very illogical to use a lighter in a coffin, because you would be suffocating yourself
  • Spider
    Wow! I'm intrigued by this! I'll be checking this out.
  • mcduck
    betting bro dies
  • You're heart will be racing right until the end *your :) Can't wait to see it.
  • well, they have made a movie about a guy confined in a house with demons, check (heheh and i loved it :P) they have made a movie about a duo left alone in the sea, check (well it was not that bad) they have even made a movie about a trio stranded on a lift, check (come on guys?? really) but none of them even remotely sounded as intriguing and challenging as Buried... This one i really should see its a really tough job to pull it. its not like you have a lot of space to move let your body language and gestures help you with your acting. you are really really confined in a...well a "coffin"!!! and only a lighter (which is stupid 😀 yeah go on light it only wait for the fat lady sing or else hellooo a sooner than expected suffocation: :P) and a cell phone.. neat. i really love Ryan Reynolds acting hehehe loved his Two guys a girl and a pizza place show and loved his take on his characters in his other flicks but i really wanna see how he has pulled this off count me in for the ride cheers burak
  • oh one more thing to those producers film makers who would want to take the story even further and out do Buried if its a success, please please dont... a film completely shot in A BODY BAG would really, really sound stupid and result bad 😛 just saying 😛
  • Darrin
    ryan reynolds oscar nominee
  • Asdad
    Im way excited. =) Ryan Reynolds is a supurb actor.
  • Joe C.
    That photo makes Reynolds looks like Tom Hanks
  • Kevan R. Craft
    Sounds awesome! Just goes to show you don't need 200 million to make a rivitting movie.. Minimalism isn't the word.. Sounds a great movie though.. Ryan Reynolds sounds great in it.. Cant wait to see this baby...
  • Knawx
    Just saw this in Park City at the final Midnight showing. I read the script 6 months ago, and knew I had to watch the film. I didn't expect it to work on screen, but I just wanted to see how they were going to approach it. Surprisingly, not only did it meet my expectations, but surpassed them completely. Bravo, to all involved on this project.
  • Trademark
    Man besides Inception(and possibly Shutter Island) this is for sure my most anticipated movie. I've always thought Reynolds was underrated, but this makes me really excited. I hope they give us a release date and the sooner the better.
  • Hattori Hanzo
    A 94 minute one man show with a lighter, a cell phone that's set in a pine box huh? My first thought was that it must have been some cheap to make. Sounds like My Dinner With Andre minus Andre and the food.
  • Me and my girlfriend seen this movie last night at the chicago screening and I enjoyed it alot! I am about to write about it in my blog. At first I didnt think it would be good - an entire movie with a guy in the box - but I was mistaken. Ryan did an excellent job acting - and made the entire audience follow and react to ryan's actions each and every time he lit the lighter, or had trouble keeping the flashlight on. I enjoyed the fact that the only light was from the lighter or flashlight - which made the audience feel as if they too were trapped inside this hell box. Overall, this movie far surpassed my expectations and i feel it will do well when it is released in the coming months.
  • JR




Alex's Top 10 - 2016
1. La La Land
2. Paterson
3. Arrival
4. Captain Fantastic
5. 20th Cent. Women
6. Pete's Dragon
7. Jackie
8. Kubo & Two Strings
9. Everybody Wants
10. Wilderpeople
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5. Arrival
6. Kubo & Two Strings
7. 13th
8. Jackie
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10. The Witch
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