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Buried (2010)

September 29, 2010

4/10 Capsule Hotels

Would have been so much better if he just one-inch-punched his way out.

Buried is about an American truck driver working in Iraq who wakes up to find himself buried alive after his convoy is attacked by terrorist insurgents. With his trusty Zippo lighter, mechanical pencil and cell phone on hand, he starts making calls like gangbusters to try and get the hell out of there while negotiating with the jerks who put him six feet under before he runs out of oxygen or runs out of battery power and makes this cozy little studio his permanent home.

In theory, this is a pretty boss idea. I, for one, am not down with claustrophobia whatsoever. That scene in Shawshank where Andy Dufresne is crawling through the prison sewage pipes? That freaks me the hell out like you wouldn’t believe. But then you take that and combine it with that scene in Blood Simple where Dan Hedaya meets an unfortunately terrible end while being witness to it to the whole damn time and you’ve got yourself something that’s gonna mess with a whole bunch of people. Really, what a terrible way to go.

But the big problem with all of this is what the hell you do for the remaining hour-and-a-half to turn this into a boss idea in practice. As you can probably imagine, a lot of it just boils down to him freaking out, trying budge the coffin and racking up more minutes on his Blackberry than a 16-year-old girl who just started going steady with the school quarterback, and that’s fine, that’s expected, but it doesn’t really work when your script kinda blows.

Granted, it’s a tall order to take this one-man-show-in-a-box and turn it into a compelling full-length nail-biter, but every last one of the phone conversations this guy has with the above-ground world drove me up the effing wall. I mean, yeah, he’s probably gonna have a hard-ass time getting someone to find him even with a GPS signal going, but it’s astounding how incredibly unhelpful these people are. If someone called me and told me they were buried alive in Iraq and needed to get the fuck out ASAP, I don’t care if it’s a stranger or Jesus Himself who’s blowing up my phone, I am all ears and I am gonna help. What is this shit with all the arbitrary questions about how he got in there and suspect accusations about whether he’s in on the whole thing? Who does that?

Wild goose chase or not, you stop what you’re doing, get off your ass and quit asking stupid questions. Absolutely infuriating behavior on everyone’s behalf and it killed this movie for me. The terrorist’s voice over the phone also sounded really freakin’ dumb.

And while director Rodrigo Cortes does a pretty impressive job behind the camera considering his wildly limited resources, this is Ryan Reynolds’ show and he’s actually just fine as truck driver-turned-living mummy, Paul Conroy. I like Ryan Reynolds, I think he’s gonna be a badass Deadpool (not so much Green Lantern) and he seems like a pretty cool and funny guy, but it seemed like he was forcing it here. I mean, I didn’t really know what to expect being that I have no idea how I’d react if I were in his shoes, but he doesn’t bring a whole lot of subtlety to the table, his character’s actually kind of a hotheaded dick on the phone and he keeps grumbling like Batman whenever he’s really trying to get someone to listen. Weird. But like I said, it’s a hard role to judge and he didn’t really have much to work with either.

Throughout the whole movie there was a woman a couple rows behind me talking her mouth off like you wouldn’t believe so that she could make sure everyone in the audience knew that she considered this “THE WORST MOVIE EVER CREATED” as she continually threatened to her husband that she was going to walk out and go home. And while it’s not that bad in the least, Buried just ended up feeling like a good idea on paper and that’s about it. It is pretty suspenseful at times, you really don’t know how it’s all going to play out and it’s awfully inspired for what it is, but the weak script and painfully frustrating dialogue really brought this down. Maybe I just saw this with the wrong crowd, I don’t know, but if you really want to see a movie that’s gonna give you a healthy fear of closed-in spaces, stretch out your arms and check out The Descent instead. Andy Dufresne would thank his lucky stars he wasn’t cave diving with those chicks.

But wait just one minute, I ain’t finished with my story yet. This is the good part.

So after the credits rolled and I stopped laughing out loud at the ridiculous ending that decided to take notes right out of Saw for some reason, I headed towards the exit while glaring at that insufferable woman with the loud mouth out of the corner of my eye, just trying to muster up the balls to say something along the lines of, “Thanks for commentary, lady!” or a good old “HEY! SHUT THE FUCK UP!” at the top of my lungs, to which the entire audience would naturally give me a standing ovation and carry me out on their shoulders. But alas, I bit my tongue and let the moment pass. Then, moments later, I find myself holding the theater door for the said lady and she asks me clear out of the blue, “God, did you even like that movie?” And then, dear readers, your humble narrator stopped in his tracks and looked her right in the eyes as his balls magically grew to the size of watermelons and said, “I would have liked it a whole lot more if weren’t talking the whole time.”

Mark that one off the bucket list, folks.

I felt a little bad about the complete look of silent mortification that showed up on her face immediately thereafter, but who the hell am I kidding, I should have given myself a standing ovation right there and then for finally pulling a George Costanza on the bane of every theater-goer’s existence. Easily the highlight of the day for me, even if I was looking over my shoulder all the way to the train station to make sure her husband wasn’t chasing after me with clenched fists and flames in his eyes.

Lady, if for some reason you’re reading this, consider yourself served. Booyah.

28 Comments leave one →
  1. September 29, 2010 7:18 am

    …perhaps this neat idea would have worked better as a short story/short film. The reason being buried alive was held back until the very end of [I won’t name this popular suspense-thriller as I don’t want to spoil it – hint: it was a French/Dutch co-production and came out in 1988] because it represented only a couple of minutes of material.

    • September 29, 2010 9:08 am

      hahaha. i was gonna mention that too and that’s exactly why it works. unfortunately, the ending for that was spoiled for me beforehand so i knew it was coming, but i really need to see that again. you hit the nail on the head, man.

  2. Charlotte permalink
    September 29, 2010 7:39 am

    I’ve read a few rave reviews about it but when I found out he could make phone calls and still nobody helped him out I decided it probably wasn’t worth the annoyance that those reviews seemed fine about overlooking. Definitely looking forward to Deadpool, should be awesome. And I’m in awe at your triumph over the Shouty Woman, you definitely deserved a trophy or medal of some sort, maybe a small ceremony with a plaque unveiled to mark your courage to speak out where others were silent against the cinema goers common foe…

    • September 29, 2010 9:11 am

      hahaha! thanks! i’m never the guy to speak out like that and it felt so liberating to just finally win one for the little guys. and while i can see how others could over overlook how unhelpful everyone was, it really drove me up the wall. weak writing, being buried alive is enough of an obstacle, didn’t need to throw a whole mess of utterly intorable people into the mix to drive the point home.

  3. Ryan permalink
    September 29, 2010 10:52 am

    You should have just used a tazer on the woman…

  4. September 29, 2010 11:20 am

    During the film, I would have grabbed that woman by the ear and dragged her out. Actually, I wouldn’t have, but I sure would have visualised doing that!

    Well, what can I say – I was looking forward to seeing this and to finding out how they managed to fill a feature-length…however, after this review, I can tell it’s not going to be a barrel of fun to watch. It sounds like one long product placement for Blackberry.

    If I do go see it, I hope there’s a token heckler in the audience – It’d probably prove to be more entertaining than the film itself.

  5. September 29, 2010 12:58 pm

    I hate people who talk during films. What the fuck is in their heads? It sucks they ruined the experience for you.

    I hope to enjoy it more myself.

    • October 1, 2010 10:15 am

      haha. my sentiments exactly, but even without that lady, not sure I would have liked it all that much more anyway. just seemed like the right thing to say to such an insufferable human being.

      hope you enjoy it more, too.

  6. September 29, 2010 1:49 pm

    Ahaha way to go Aiden, too bad getting out of Buried was more memorable than the movie itself. I do expect this film to be quite divisive but I’m still looking forward to it 🙂

    • October 1, 2010 10:11 am

      haha, thanks, man. “Divisive’s” the word, but hopefully you dig it more than i did.

  7. September 29, 2010 8:26 pm

    Nice Job Aiden! I yelled at some chick once during The Dark Knight a couple of years ago, cause it was my first time seeing it, and this chick would not stop talking, and asking who is who, and other random ass questions. Eventually me and my sister, just turned around and told her to please be quiet, and she just shut up. Probably not as magnificent as yours, but I finally was able to tell somebody to shut up, in a nice way. Although this film will probably test my patience big time, I still have interests in seeing it, but thanks for at least telling me what to look out for!

    • October 1, 2010 10:14 am

      haha. way to go, man. it’s the small victories that matter. when i saw Scott Pilgrim a month or so ago, a woman in front of us would not stop texting on her blackberry, so the old lady sitting next to us leaned forward and sternly told her to turn it off. she obeyed, my fiancee and i were just so amazed and impressed by the whole scene. that lady was an inspiration, we need to keep this movement alive!

  8. October 1, 2010 11:05 am

    HAHA, nice story. People like that need to be taken down a notch and I salute you for doing your part.

  9. brandon permalink
    October 13, 2010 12:14 am

    Quite frankly I’m tired of these low busdget movies attempting to make a killing @ the box office with hyped up trailers. This movie is a waste of time and money to any avid movie goer like myself. my advise, wait till it comes out on tv unless you wanna see a guy in a box on a cell phone for about two hours!

    • October 13, 2010 9:12 am

      I hear ya’, brother. Had its moments, but I probably could have saved my money. Thanks for visiting!

    • kare permalink
      February 6, 2011 11:14 am

      What are you twelve, the movie was well written, and well executed and in reality a situation like that could happen.

      • February 6, 2011 3:12 pm

        Hahaha. Different strokes for different folks. Thanks for the comment, make sure to put me on speed dial when you’re buried alive by terrorists.

  10. January 30, 2011 12:03 am

    Wow, we have totally differing opinions here. I just saw Buried a couple weeks ago and absolutely loved it. One of my favorite movies from last year, actually. That sucks your moviegoing experience was ruined by someone else. Nice zinger you unleashed on her though — turns your review into a feel-good story, haha. Gotta love that Seinfeld clip, too. Very appropriate.

    • January 31, 2011 7:59 am

      Haha. One of my all-time favorite Seinfeld episodes.

      I’m bummed out that I ended up in the minority on this one because it seemed like a lot of folks dug it, but as much as I’d like to blame that woman in the rear, this just didn’t do it for me. Who knows, maybe I’ll see it again someday in a better setting and I’ll be singing a different tune.

  11. brandon permalink
    February 7, 2011 3:37 pm

    You think that’s a reality situation and i’m twelve?..haha..anyway happy you enjoyed the movie.

  12. Taylor permalink
    February 12, 2011 11:14 pm

    ….. This movie….. Was a waste of my time!half the time u could not even see what the guy was doing in the coffin and the ending was horrible… I mean the guy on the phone said that they where 3 minutes away and I swear I seen sunlight when the coffin was filling up with sand so could have not just punched trough it?And also I think I heard them digging to or maybe not but still the guy said they where 3 minutes away!well that’s all I have to say sooo bye!

  13. February 20, 2011 3:40 pm

    ….. This movie….. Was a waste of my time!half the time u could not even see what the guy was doing in the coffin and the ending was horrible… I mean the guy on the phone said that they where 3 minutes away and I swear I seen sunlight when the coffin was filling up with sand so could have not just punched trough it?And also I think I heard them digging to or maybe not but still the guy said they where 3 minutes away!well that’s all I have to say sooo bye!

    he was dreaming

  14. Richard permalink
    May 9, 2011 1:23 am

    Great read. Overall I thought the movie was good as it definitely had it moments. On the other hand, the ending left me tasteless. Very funny about the woman part as well. Keep doing your thing.


  15. Turtle permalink
    September 11, 2011 3:10 am

    I liked the idea that the movie focused on, but the couple of bullshit moments made it a meh movie for me. I am suppose to believe he had all that oxygen left? The lighter alone would have consumed the oxygen 2x faster for such a cramped spot. Also, what a wussy way to go out! At least die trying to break your way out of the box instead of just waiting for death. I am pretty sure that hole the snake escaped through could have been widen by peeling the sides with the knife. Or how about breaking that wood in the end to swim his way out before the sand drowned him? You cut your finger for the video, but not attempting to escape?…If I am going to die and leave a family in this situation, I want them to be told I fought like a beast before being overpowered by nature. Not a wussy who did nothing but just eat sand and sing lullabies. @Aiden good job on calling that lady off. I wish I had the balls to do it, but here I would probably get shot. lol

  16. John permalink
    November 4, 2013 10:24 pm

    The reasons why the film sucked for you are the reasons it actually makes sense (to the rational thinker)

    Of course those people on the phones were really unhelpful: they were hired by the company he worked for. They’re the ones who put him there, there was no terrorist, that’s why the terrorists accent wasn’t accurate…..????!


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