Nov 15, 2010

[Movies] Buried (2010)

Buried (2010)I can totally relate to how a movie maker must feel like he or she thinks there's a really good concept that deserves to be translated into some creative output. And then you run with the idea, you make whatever it is you like to make and then presto - you end up with something that doesn't quite as look as good as you thought it would be as far as your imagination was concerned.

Things always look a heck of a lot better in your head. I say that as a guy who has tried his hand at creative writing, is attempting NaNoWriMo again and doing pretty much just what all geeks do at one point in their lives or another. Yes, this includes slash-fic. But let's get back to the point.

Some movies sound great in your head. Some movies seem awesome as a screenplay. But in between the time it stopped being an idea and ends up with a decent movie budget and ends up on the silver screen. Sometimes it's wonderful and magical or maybe even just amazingly brilliant in its originality. Other times it's a pile of crap and we as members of the audience end up feeling like we were somehow cheated out of a good movie.

Or maybe we just feel like it was such a waste since there was so much potential.

Buried is actually a Spanish-made movie released this year as directed by Rodrigo Cortés and written by Chris Sparling.

Ryan Reynolds on setImage via WikipediaThe movie starts in 2006 with Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds), an American truck driver in Iraq wakes up buried alive in a wooden coffin. He's bound and gagged with only a Zippo lighter and a mobile phone by his foot. It takes him some time to remember the what exactly happened but as it turned out his convoy was attacked by Iraqi insurgents and most of the other drivers were killed, as far as he could recall.

After a lot of effort, he finally manages to get the phone. He tries to call his family to little avail given no one seems to be answering their phones. After many, many, many calls in the dark of the coffin, he finally gets in touch with the FBI and they help him connect with the right local resources who stand the best chances of helping him. But before he can continue on with the call, he gets interrupted by the kidnappers calling. The reason he's in the box - a simple ransom case. The price of his freedom is $5 million to be somehow delivered by 09:00pm.

Admittedly, I saw this movie for two main reasons. The first - Ryan Reynolds. To any gay man, that doesn't need much explanation. The second was the fact that the trailer did challenge me as a viewer and I was wondering if (1) the film would actually take place only within the coffin and (2) if it did, how would the director manage this effectively such that the audience doesn't get bored.
And I have to declare in a somewhat spoilery fashion, (1) yes, the film actually takes place solely in the coffin and (2) it wasn't interesting enough to keep me captivated the whole time. I was so tempted to give it the full MST3000 treatment less than halfway through the film. Then again, maybe my partner and I were already doing that.

The movie takes place in a coffin. And this would have been decent enough had we restrained all camera work to operate within these limitations. In the beginning we got that along with some unusual shaky camera moments to add tension without actual movement of the actor. However in time we got impossible rotations and the worst of all - the zoom out that shows Reynolds in his deep little whole but as if the coffin didn't have a lid. So yeah, that was not exactly a wall I wanted broken.

And the story in itself did its best to remain compelling. There were a decent amount of twists and turns and there were even some complex left field kind of stories added into the mix. So yeah, good effort. But the overall resolution is one that doesn't leave the viewer all that fulfilled. And this it now about whether or not we got a happy ending, depending on how you want to define what "happy" is. My main beef is that after the ordeal that was getting through the movie, we end up with an ending that felt like a strangled whisper. It didn't give us the emotional release we needed as viewers. It didn't make all that much sense. And in the end, it actually felt annoying.

Plus the director never found an excuse to get Ryan Reynolds at least shirtless. What's the point of being in such close quarters with an actor like this only to have him fully clothed like all the time? And where does he keep getting all that string and cloth he uses for various purposes? Sheesh!

Buried did have a lot of potential and could have been a heck of a lot more. Instead, I wouldn't even recommend it for home video. Just catch it on local TV in case you accidentally chance upon it. And feel free to enjoy the commercials more than the movie. This sad piece gets 1.5 deux ex machina snakes out of a possible 5.

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