In the build up to Buried's release, two words or rather one name kept instantly coming to mind. Alfred Hitchcock. From the sparse, intelligent narrative, to the sheer suspense of the trailer alone, as well as, a poster and opening credits, which you would be forgiven for thinking, the legendary Saul Bass had risen from the dead himself to design.
Little can be said about the plot, other than it centres around Paul Conroy (Ryan Renyolds), a civilian truck driver stationed in Iraq, who wakes up to find himself buried alive in a coffin in an unknown location. In true Hitchcockian fashion he does however have his McGuffan, in the form of a mobile phone, which acts as his only hope for reaching the outside world in vain hope of being rescued.
Despite the clear nods to perhaps his biggest directorial influence, Rodrigo Cortes has constructed something truly special, and rarely been seen in mainstream cinema in the past five years. His ability to tell an interesting, provocative story with one actor in such a contained setting was quite astonishing. Faintly reminiscent of Duncan Jones' marvellous 2009 début, Moon. Whereas Jones' film was a heartfelt tribute to old school science fiction, Cortes' felt like a tribute to the master of suspense as well as old fashioned thrillers and horrors of the 1970s - or a much less convoluted entry to the Saw franchise.
Though Ryan Renyolds is often considered quite a laid back, charismatic individual with an effortless ability to lighten up the mood in any film he appears, with his role in Buried, he demonstrates the most versatile and intense performance of his acting career to date.
The whole narrative almost mirrors the, widely documented, five stages of grief and acceptance of death. Through a mixture of anger and bargaining towards the people who put him there and the utterly disgraceful administrated hell he is put through by his own government and enforcement agencies. His acceptance of the film's closing moments is not a pleasant one for audiences to experience. It did however make for some seriously compelling viewing.
While the mad and passionate fan in me was immersed in this sheer master-class of no thrills film-making, there were however a couple of glaring plot-holes which could have been easily been covered with one line of dialogue. I'll let go the fact he miraculously got a phone signal (clearly wasn't on Orange) underground and yes perhaps I am nit-picking, but I have the mobile the protagonist uses in the film and never once did he think to use or download the Google Maps app with the built in GPS which could have cleared this mess up pretty quickly. I'll leave you with that to ponder.
The glaring plot-hole aside, Buried is still a brilliant demonstration of fiercely intense, minimalistic and, ultimately, original film-making from director, Rodrigo Cortes. Ryan Renyolds gives a fantastic performance under hellish circumstances, and gives one hope of his box-office credentials for the mega-huge projects he's attached to lead in upcoming years. A must for devotees of Hitchcock.
See This If You Liked...
Vertigo, Saw, 13 (Tzameti)
Buried is in cinemas nationwide from today.