|$||70.5M||Star Trek Into Darkness|
|$||35.1M||Iron Man 3|
|$||23.4M||The Great Gatsby (2013)|
|$||3.1M||Pain & Gain|
|As of May 19, 2013|
Paul does not immediately give in to despair. Despite being short on oxygen, and having only minimal lighting from his Zippo lighter, he searches the limited premises for any object he can use to affect his own rescue. In addition to the lighter, Paul finds a charged cell phone. On account of panicking it takes some time before he realizes the phone can be transitioned into an “English” mode. Nevertheless, Paul manages to use it resourcefully. Although he is no longer carrying the number for his personnel director, Paul contacts several government agencies (beginning with the operator and 911) to take action on his behalf. Shortly thereafter Paul is contacted by the captors. They demand that he produce a video as proof of his capture, and that he request at least one million USD to be paid or he will be suffocated and his wife will be assassinated.
There are four people he speaks with that greatly color this insane (I do not use that word lightly) ordeal of being slowly buried alive. The first is Dan Brenner (Robert Paterson) who does everything humanly possible to comfort him and to ensure his rescue. The second is his wife Linda (Samantha Mathis), whom the terrorists claim they have murdered at gunpoint. They have Photoshopped a video to make this accusation appear to be a fait accompli. The third is his commanding officer Alan Davenport (Stephen Tobolowsky). The fourth and most insidious is his subjugator, Jabir (Jose Luiz Garcia Perez).
Jabir provides terse threats and instructions to Paul. He demands the prisoner produce a ransom video, this despite the limited lighting (green glowsticks are introduced) and oxygen available underground in a box. Later, Jabir demands he slice off his fingertip to prove he is still alive and under duress. Unfortunately for Paul, he does not have a million dollars, and nobody he knows or is associated with will subject themselves to paying a ransom demanded by a terrorist.
While the mayhem ensues, a snake invades the coffin, the wood is very nearly set on fire, and Paul must deal with the realization that he will likely die. Sand continues to stress the coffin, causing seepage and further asphyxiation. The three most crucial conversations Paul has with the cruel and ostensibly unconcerned outside world are with Dan, Linda and Alan. Dan takes military action to follow the cell phone signal of Paul’s captor, and provides a measure of comfort to the tragic victim. Alan tricks Paul into legally consenting to being fired from his employer’s corporation to avoid any legal liability for his untimely death. Convinced that Dan may find him and save his life, Paul reassures his wife from a sealed coffin. Talk about heroism under fire.
Ultimately, Buried is akin to Cast Away and 127 Hours, only with a different and a more claustrophobic setting. Ryan Reynolds challenged himself with this film. He has courage and is unafraid to fail. Although I would never call Buried a “thriller”, I would suggest it is both richly cruel and harrowing. The storyline is sick and twisted but utterly possible. Kidnappings, much like robberies, increase in frequency when there are economic downturns. It is conceivable that a captured soldier or civilian contractor such as Paul could be ransomed. Unfortunately, those willing to kill for money are mentally unreliable and the victim may not survive, just to prove a fanatical point. If you have a fear of enclosed spaces, please choose a different film to enjoy. That being said, Reynolds makes fans feel more comfortable despite the vampire’s setting. A 95 minute film that occurs in a coffin is almost inconceivable. Nonetheless, for what it is, Buried is nothing if not interesting.
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