Alex's Sundance 2010 Review: Rodrigo Cortés' Buried
by Alex Billington
January 24, 2010
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