Buried (2010)
By: Victor Takac on April 5, 2011  | 
DVD
Icon | Region B | 1.78:1, 1080p | English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 | 95 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Rodrigo Cortés
Starring: Ryan Reynolds
Screenplay: Chris Sparling
Country: Spain / USA
External Links
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The premise of Buried is simple and very minimalist on the surface. Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) awakens tied up in a coffin, buried underground. The last thing he remembers is his delivery truck being attacked by terrorists in Iraq. A cellphone and a lighter are seemingly the only things he has to keep him company. Unlike I presumed, the camera never actually leaves the inside of the coffin. No flashbacks, no scenes of what's happening outside the coffin, nothing. Watching Reynolds in a box for an hour and a half may not sound like a great idea on paper, (especially if like me, you don't like the guy) but Buried manages to embrace this gimmick. In fact, Reynolds' performance is clearly the most integral part of the film, and is the single thing that really drives the story.

For some reason I was expecting the entire film to be shot from one stationary camera angle, but luckily I was surprised to see that Director Rodrigo Cortes managed to mix things up quite a bit by constantly moving around inside the coffin, never lingering on one angle for longer than necessary. Furthermore, he utilizes a variety of colours with different light sources such as the light from a cellphone, a glowstick, or Conroy's lighter. Again, this makes up for the monotonous setting of the viewer being stuck inside the coffin with Reynolds for the entire film.

Conroy's frustrations become increasingly evident as he puts up with the infuriatingly difficult FBI agents on the phone. You can really relate to his rising fear and anger as he's continually met with people who seem to be unwilling to help him. It was at this point that I began to sympathize with his predicament and claustrophobia began to creep up on me. I believe the fact that as a viewer, I never got to see what was happening on the outside is what really cemented the sense of actually being trapped alongside Reynolds.

In the 'Making Of', Reynolds remarks that filming Buried was a challenge because it's something that has never been done before. He really hit the nail on the head, as this was a completely unique viewing experience. Never before have I seen a movie that keeps the fluid pace from beginning to end without the need for fancy action sequences, or over the top special effects.

Proof of the films effectiveness is in the ending. As the tension and claustrophobia progressively escalates, you really have no idea how it's going to end, or what's going to come next. Though towards the end you begin to formulate an idea of where it's heading, the last few minutes still made me utter a "Holy shit!" Needless to say, I'm very excited about seeing what Rodrigo Cortes has in store next.
Video
After finding out the DVD release was cropped, I hoped that this would not be the case with the Blu-ray. Unfortunately, it was cropped as well. The intended 2.35:1 is instead presented as 1.77:1. Though admittedly there isn't much to see in the majority of the film due to its minimal nature so it wasn't much of a problem for me, and I didn't notice any specific scenes where parts of the picture were cut off. It would be nice to see the film as it was intended, though as it is, the aspect ratio doesn't detract from the experience. The 1080p presentation on the Blu-ray seems a little unnecessary, as like I said before, visually, there isn't a lot going on. It's the atmosphere and the character which are important here. Though what isn't obscured by shadows and darkness does look quite nice in most scenes, but it can get a little grainy sometimes. But unless you want to see Ryan Reynolds five o'clock shadow in high definition, the standard DVD version will do the trick. Also, if you're buying the Blu-ray in the hopes of additional special features, then save your money.
Audio
The 5.1 DTS is surprisingly effective as it really conveys the atmosphere inside the coffin. The noises that can be heard above ground sound as realistic as possible. I had absolutely no problems with the sound.
Extra Features
The special features are the same as the DVD as well as the US release. The 17 minute long "Making of" featurette, and the interview with the director are presented in 480p. The featurette doesn't go into too much detail, but it's interesting to see the set, and how the film was shot. The interview with Cortes is quite short, and not exactly in depth.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Though the disc is sorely missing any substantial features, it is made up by the film itself. It's refreshing to see Ryan Reynolds in a serious film that is actually good. The best part of the film is that it has the ability to keep your attention from beginning to end, whilst many recent Hollywood Blockbusters simply can't do the same. Though it's sure to soon become a cliché when talking about Buried, it's a step in the right direction towards the classic Hitchcockian thrillers of yesteryear.

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