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Sundance 2010: 'Buried' never leaves the coffin, and that's good

January 24, 2010 |  8:26 am

Before "Buried" screened to a capacity crowd, some of which got in by standing in line for six hours, star Ryan Reynolds set the tone by telling the audience: "I hope you enjoy this film as much as I hated making it."

Buried_ryan_renolds_dunkel_2009_largeThe film was not only an ordeal for the star and filmmakers. Many in the audience commented afterward -- verbally and through numerous tweets that smart phone wielders instantly sent -- that their hearts were still racing and their hands still felt as if they were gripping the arm of their theater seats. The Brangelina breakup talk filtering through the audience was quickly forgotten as the film began.

Ryan Reynolds' Paul Conroy opens the film in the dark, in a box.  A guy who already has to take anxiety medication is not the most well-suited to be in this situation, but that's where we find the contractor/truck driver. He's been buried there by terrorists in Iraq, or as one of the characters in the film says, "people just like you and me," except that they resort to kidnapping for ransom when they're in dire straits.

Inside of this box, which looks to be about 9 to 10 feet long and about 3 feet tall, is the Zippo lighter that Paul brought with him, the anxiety pills, a flask of alcohol, and, as Conroy later learns, a cellphone and a bag left by the terrorists with assorted goodies in it -- including a flashlight that doesn't always work. The film is often mostly lighted, as director Rodrigo Cortes later confirmed, using Paul's lighter (and light from the cellphone). Reynolds adds a touch of angsty comedy, but this suspense-filled film kept the audience on edge as they listened to Conroy's frantic phone calls for help and to connect with his family. FBI, state officials, and even people on the ground in Iraq seem to be little consolation as time ticks on and the kidnappers' demands are not met. It's a solitary intense Ryan Reynolds, all the time (no cutting back to family -- worried or not).

And then there was also a stressed-out snake (again, according to Cortes).

The crowd cheered and gave the film rousing applause when it ended. Besides director Cortes and star Reynolds, screenwriter Chris Sparling came up on stage in the post-film Q&A. Reynolds' mind-state inside of the confined space, Cortes' choice to stick with one actor onscreen the whole time, and Sparling's inspiration for writing the movie were just some of the many questions brought up. For Sparling, the idea was born of necessity.

"I thought: 'What would be the cheapest movie to make ever.' I just thought of smaller and smaller locations, and less and less actors."

Cortes also answered a lot of questions, including some from us as he stopped to have a chat, still basking in the post-screening glow.

-- Jevon Phillips

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Comments () | Archives (2)

The comments to this entry are closed.

I'd appreciate more information available on this film? Why and how did it go to Barcelona? I can be contacted at the above e-mail: jonstevensdga@aol.com

Having only seen the trailer for "Buried", I guess I'm limited to only bits and pieces of the content. But from this there are several similarities to the film and the short story written by Richard Matheson titled "Where There's A Will." It deals with a man trapped in a casket who struggles to survive at any cost, including burning himself out of the "pine box" and struggling to the surface. Matheson's story definitely has a horror twist at the end and not knowing the outocome of Ryan Reynold's character, I can only speculate about its total similarity. Check out the story, its a good read.


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