Review: Buried Blu-ray/DVD

Buried Blu-ray/DVD boxSTUDIO: Lionsgate | DIRECTOR: Rodrigo Cortes | CAST: Ryan Renolds, Erik Palladino, Samantha Mathis
RELEASE DATE: 1/18/2011 | PRICE: Blu-ray/DVD combo $29.95
BONUSES: featurette
SPECS: R | 95 min. | Thriller | 2.35:1 aspect ratio | 7.1 DTS-HD audio | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Buried movie sceneThriller movie Buried has a great gimmick: The entire film is shot in a wooden coffin as Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds, Paper Man), a U.S. contractor working in Iraq, tries to free himself. The problem is, beyond the gimmick, the movie doesn’t have much else.

The Green Lantern himself, Reynolds — usually known for his romantic comedies, including The Proposal and Definitely, Maybe — is the sole performer in the film. We briefly see one other hostage, played by Ivana Mino (Night of the Sinner), and hear lots of voices, including Samantha Mathis (American Psycho) as Paul’s wife and Erik Palladino (TV’s Joan of Arcadia) as a special agent, but it’s Reynolds who does the heavy lifting. The camera is focused on him pretty much from the moment he wakes up in the coffin to the … well, to the end of the film — I won’t spill what that is. And for his part, Reynolds does a decent job of being scared, frustrated, angry, etc., all the feelings one might have if they were kidnapped and buried alive.

The problem is with the story. It wants us to buy that Reynolds was buried with a cell phone, flashlight, flask, pen and lighter and that the kidnappers expect him to negotiate his own ransom from however many feet under ground. Okay, fine. That could happen. But it’s a leap to a) believe that the cell phone reception is that good in a wooden coffin in the middle of a desert and b) his air wouldn’t have run out long before the two-hour movie is over given that he talks a lot and spends the first third — at least — with a burning flame eating up precious oxygen.

If you can get over those, there’s the script,which will leave eyes rolling more than once when Reynolds’ actions just don’t seem to follow his motivations. And one part is so blatantly anti-corporation, it loses its power.

But then there’s that gimmick. The film really is shot entirely in the coffin — no shots of wifey back home or the plotting kidnappers or the agents trying to find Reynolds before his time is up — and this is where director Rodrigo Cortes shined. He did a great job of keeping the movie visually interesting. His lighting and shot choices are one of the most appealing aspects of Buried, and I’d say he’s a director to watch for in the future.

How Cortes and his team shot Reynolds in the coffin is shown in the 17-minute making-of featurette “Unearthing Buried.” As many of the behind-the-camera team are Spanish, the featurette includes subtitles for their interviews. If anything, it’s a shame this featurette isn’t a bit more in-depth. It would have been nice to hear more from Rodrigo and see less footage from the final film.

The movie is only available in a Blu-ray/DVD combo, no separate DVD, on disc, but is also available on video-on-demand. The Blu-ray/DVD pack does not include a downloadable digital copy.


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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.