Monday, 24 April 2017

Buried (2010)

"You American?"


"Then you soldier!"

I imagine that this, a thriller set entirely in a cramped, poorly lit coffin with only one visible actor and all drama conveyed by means of a mobile phone with a slowly diminishing number of bars, would have made a good short story. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's a good script. It could even, with cuts for length, have made a good TV play. But, much as it's always nice to see films experimenting with the form of the medium, well.... cinema is a visual media. And that's why this film fails.

Not that Ryan Reynolds is anything but outstanding here in what is a real showcase for his talent, but the camera pointing at one an in a cramped space was never going to make good visuals, and good visuals are essential. I can understand the purist motives for doing it this way, but every single other actor is but a voice on the phone or brief video footage on the phone. Can we not at least have had flashbacks, perhaps of Paul's various romantic liaisons, the dirty bugger?

The tragedy is that the script is good- the final ten minutes or so, the false hope, the realisation that Paul's bastard employers have found an excuse to fire him and dodge paying his insurance, meaning he dies knowing his wife and son will inherit nothing but poverty, even the implicit satire of a world where we're forever being put on hold- but the idea of doing a film this way, however cool it may seem on paper, could never have worked without some kind of compromise with the format. And that's a real shame.

Ok, there's the scene with the snake. But this is an odd example of a film where it's probably better to read the script than to watch.

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