FILM-making is a collaborative process, pooling the creativity and imagination of dozens, sometimes hundreds, of individuals behind of and in front of the cameras. Rodrigo Cortes's thriller BURIED (15) goes back to basics and daringly asks us to in
FILM-making is a collaborative process, pooling the creativity and imagination of dozens, sometimes hundreds, of individuals behind of and in front of the cameras.
Rodrigo Cortes's thriller BURIED (15) goes back to basics and daringly asks us to invest all of our emotions in just one character - who spends the entire film on screen trapped in a single, cramped location after being imprisoned by terrorists in Iraq.
Not since Sam Rockwell discovered the terrifying secrets of Moon or Tom Hanks found himself a Cast Away with only a volleyball for company, has the entire weight of a film rested on one actor's shoulders.
Hollywood hunk Ryan Reynolds had a glorious 2009, paired with Sandra Bullock in the romantic comedy The Proposal.
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Now, he is very much on his own in Buried, which traps the actor inside a wooden coffin deep underground for 94 nail-biting minutes. Cortes doesn't allow his camera to escape from the subterranean prison for a single second - no flashbacks, no fleeting glimpses of the sunshine above the tomb.
Instead, the camera cleverly moves around the space over Reynolds's dirty, sweat-drenched body, lit by the flickers of a cigarette lighter or the beam of a torch.
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When darkness occasionally prevails, we can still hear his rapid breathing and his clothes catching on splinters of wood.
Viewers who suffer from claustrophobia should look away...
Buried wrings every last drop of tension from a simple dramatic set-up, making excellent use of the natural lighting to capture Paul's mounting distress.
There are whispers of a possible Oscar nomination for Reynolds for his overwrought theatrics.
While he certainly holds our attention, the actor doesn't have the emotional range to take us to the edge with his stricken character and he doesn't always earn our sympathy, culminating in a skin-crawling interlude involving an unexpected visitor to the box.
Occasional deviations from logic - the final power bar on Paul's mobile phone lasts much longer than expected - feel like a bit of a cheat. - DAMON SMITH