So, Ryan Reynolds announced that he was going to be following-up his studio flicks X-Men Origins: Wolverine and X-Men Origins: The Proposal with an indie thriller by Spanish director Rodrigo Cortes. Buried is the story of a civilian contractor who is kidnapped in Iraq and buried alive in a coffin out in the desert. Not to be confused with the forthcoming adaptation of Candyland, where a civilian contractor is kidnapped in Iraq and buried alive in a coffin out in the dessert.

Until now, we’ve gotten the usual schlock about how it’s going to be a great acting challenge, how a bulk of the film focuses on Reynolds, and how he’ll will really stretch himself.

Now we’re getting word from The Playlist that he won’t be stretching himself. Because he’ll be inside a coffin for the entire run-time of the film. By himself. The entire movie.

The money quote:

It’s the only movie I’ve ever heard of with only one person in it. So it’s just me, I’m the only person in the whole movie so, I don’t know. We’ll see. It’s either going to be, you know, the greatest, most experimental cool movie ever made or god knows what,” Reynolds said.

That sounds like a perfect wording of the exact question you’ll need to be asking yourself. Does this thing have a chance at being great? Or does is sound like a gimmick that gets shoved down the audience’s throat for almost an hour and a half? Do you want to see a guy armed only with a cell phone, knife, and candle trying to dig his way out of a coffin for that long? Part of me wants to hope that it would be really tense, but I have trouble seeing anyone’s ability to spread that sort of tension over such great a distance. I suppose it seems a bit like Open Water, but in that situation there were outside forces that came into play, changing the game almost constantly. With Buried, there’s no outside at all.

And here’s where I call bullshit. But keep in mind this is just speculation:

  1. The character has a cell phone. Which means he’s going to use it. Ergo, Ryan Reynolds won’t be the only person in the movie – he’ll be the only person visually in the movie. Although I’m not sure what kind of reception you can get buried underground.
  2. You know, you just know that it’s going to end with him dying in the coffin. There’s no way an experimental director is going to put his audience through all of that just to have the guy triumphantly emerge and walk off into the blazing sunset. Either all his attempts to escape are futile, or he does get out only to find himself in the middle of a stark desert – already weakened from dehydration and exhaustion.

So that’s just speculation, not spoiler.

By the way, although it has just a few more people than one in it, I got the chance to see The Quietest Sound back in 2006 at The Austin Film Festival which is one continuous shot of a woman being interrogated in a police station after her child goes missing from a store. My very positive review of it is here. The lesson from it is that story telling is king – if Buried can focus on creating a compelling story to display while dealing with the limitations in cinematography and editing that go along with shooting in such a tight space, it might have a chance at being brilliant.

What do you think?

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