Buried: Thinking About Green Lantern? May Want To Rethink That…
…Because there are definitely better movies headed by Ryan Reynolds out there. One in particular, Buried, is a tough sell, but is a unique achievement that, despite lacking any kind of special effects, is probably more entertaining than the newest superhero flop.
Now, I will be fair and say that I have yet to see Green Lantern myself (I know, I know, “don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it”), but such rotten ratings sure aren’t encouraging me to do so. Buried, however, offered an experience unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
The central hook of Buried, and the reason that it’s a tough sell, is Paul Conroy’s (Reynolds) discovery at the beginning of the movie that he is trapped and buried in a coffin somewhere in sands of the Middle East. The camera shows nothing outside of what is in the coffin for the entire 90-minute length of the film.
The big question (at least for me) going into this movie goes something like this: “How the heck can an entire movie take place in a coffin? How can that work?”
Great acting and pacing are good answers, but there is more to it.
Sure, it’s an innovative thriller and thinly veiled criticism of U.S. policy and attitudes toward the Middle East, but, looking deeper, it’s also an exploration of the concept of respect for human life. The Golden Rule, to use a cliché.
The film makes the points that “terrorists” are people too and must be respected and understood in order to be dealt with properly (and not necessarily violently). It also asserts the importance of setting the lives of others to a higher priority than, say, corporate legal situations.
It turns out that all this is accomplished through a sort of minimalist approach; unlike Green Lantern, there are very few frills in Buried, considering that it deals with only one (tiny) setting and only one simple plotline (get out of the coffin or die).
These simple elements are more than enough to make the experience exciting. The film does a great job appealing to many basic human needs, from the absolute necessities (food, water, and safety) to the more complex and psychological (freedom, companionship, and trust).
At the same time, the film sends messages about corporatism, legalism, and xenophobia towards Middle Eastern individuals (human beings). It is virtually impossible to watch this film and not feel any emotional resonance. Too many of the nightmares that Paul endures are things that we all fear (or are concerned with, at least).
Reynolds doesn’t even play a very pleasant or heroic lead; Paul is a more realistic sort of everyman who is (very) far from perfect, but still does his best to regain his life and his freedom. He may act like a jerk at times and he may act impulsively (stupidly) throughout the course of the movie, but he is still a character deserving of sympathy because we all should see a bit of ourselves in him. Plus, we should all be able to sympathize with the fact that he endures emotional situations that we would all rather avoid (claustrophobia, abandonment, hopelessness).
Buried surprises as a fascinating look at many aspects of the human psyche despite the limitations created by the film’s cramped setting. If people really do show their true colors when they are faced with death, then maybe Paul’s experiences shine light on the true nature of humans in general.
So, what do you think? Does all this claustrophobia just not work for you, or do you think the film charts new territory for the genre or moviemaking in general? This is in no way your typical thriller, and I know there are different viewpoints from mine about the movie. So let me hear about it! You know the drill: comment, comment, comment.
If you like Buried, then try:
- Saw series (both feature claustrophobic settings and a strong sense of hopelessness).
|Print article||This entry was posted by Brian on June 30, 2011 at 11:36 AM, and is filed under Movies. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|