Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Buried

Buried screens at Toronto Underground Cinema on Friday, November 12th at 7:00pm, Saturday, November 13th at 5:00pm, and Wednesday, December 1st at 7:00pm.



Buried is a film that kind of defies any real plot synopsis. It is a film that while simple on the surface and deceptively simple in execution, is actually more dense than it initially appears.

Ryan Reynolds stars a Paul Conroy, and American sub-contractor in Iraq who awakens to find he is buried alive with nothing more than a cigarette lighter and a cell phone. Paul is being held for ransom. If Paul's company pays, he lives. If they don't he dies.

That is the easiest way to describe the plot because in a film that takes place entirely within the confines of a coffin underground, you can't have a whole lot of action. The story has to be propelled by words and a great performance. It is often said that the worst thing a screenwriter can do is to include lengthy sequences where someone is talking and delivering exposition over the telephone. What most scholars and teachers fail to discount is that very few films have ever used the telephone as a life line motif as well as Buried does. The telephone also offers almost all of the plot that both Paul and the audience are privy to. Without the telephone, there is no action, and although different actors voice different characters on the other end, the phone itself is Reynolds' only real co-star.

For all the hemming and hawing being made about Ryan Reynolds starring in the Green Lantern film and being named the sexiest man alive by a subsidiary of Green Lantern's parent company, lets not forget that the man is an actor. Often best known for playing the default smart-ass in comedies and for being the sole reason to watch Blade: Trinity, Reynolds has also given some good dramatic turns. He has been great in a great film (The Nines), a mediocre film (Chaos Theory), and even once in a God awful film (The Amityville Horror). The man clearly knows what he is doing, and Buried is easily his best film to date. There just simply would not be a movie like Buried without him.

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