Ryan Reynolds spends an hour and a half buried in a box in the desert somewhere in Iraq. We spend it, every minute of it, in the box with him. In many ways, Buried is a marvel. The ingenuity required to hold an audience’s attention with only one character to work with (and he’s in a wooden box that’s about the same size and shape as a coffin) is substantial, yet director Rodrigo Cortés and writer Chris Sparling manage to pull off this difficult feat with amazing dexterity. For me, the MVP award for crew member goes to James Muñoz, whose work as sound designer and supervising sound editor really created an incredibly immersive sound field. It seems odd to praise a film that takes place in a box for its sound, but that aspect of the film, more than any other, really puts the viewer into the head space of the main character. Still, even though the film is really quite amazing, it’s such a downer to watch that I don’t expect to see it very many more times. It’s just too draining. However, if you loved Open Water, Buried might be the feel-good film of the year for you. It’s NOT recommended for claustrophobes, ophidiophobes*, or claustrophobic ophidiophobes.
*I had to look it up; now you have to look it up. Fair is fair.