Friday, October 1, 2010

Big Box Filmmaking


Buried, the new movie starring Ryan Reynolds was one of those legendary scripts that floundered on the "black list." The list of amazing screenplays that are considered un-filmable. Until one day, director Rodrigo Cortes got in touch with Reynolds and showed him how it could be done.


Given the story, you can see how the script would be intimidating. The entire film takes place inside a coffin. The cast, one man - Paul. A truck driver who is working in Iraq for a private contractor and wakes up in a wooden crate. (There's also a couple voices on the cellphone with excellent reception.) Soon his captor is calling with their demands. 5 million dollars or they leave him there. Oh, and there's a snake.


The biggest surprise is how cinematic Buried becomes. Sure it's claustrophobic at times. In fact, be prepared to listen quite carefully since occasionally there's nothing but black and panicked breathing. Kudos to Cortes and his cinematographer for constantly finding ways to vary the setting. Changing light sources and using everything from macro to crane shots.

Of course none of this would be worth it, if the story and Reynold's performance didn't work. Luckily the script is rather tight, with the exception of one silly flashback episode. When your entire film takes place in real time...don't go for the flashback montage.

As Paul, Reynolds has no trouble holding our attention. I've always liked Reynolds, who has a sly funny streak that seems to pop up in most of his roles. Buried isn't exactly Van Wilder (not that I wanted it to be) but if not humorous, there's a sincerity which helps pull us even deeper into his predicament.

(somewhat minor spoiler)

Finally, after a number of wishy-washy films about Iraq, this is one film that takes a stand with a finale that won't soon be forgotten. Buried is a film that almost feels like a short story in the way that it had the potency of a simple, well told tale. Enjoy.

Finally, after a number of wishy-washy films about Iraq, this is one film that takes a stand with a finale that won't soon be forgotten. Buried is a film that almost feels like a short story in the way that it had the potency of a simple, well told tale. Enjoy.

(Minor Update: saw the trailer for Reynold's upcoming Green Lantern superhero spectacle and it's as I feared. Looks like a galaxy of bad CGI with Reynolds' typical charm wedged into an outfit built to show off his best assets. Alas)

1 comment:

S said...

I agree with your assessment of the GL trailer- I was excited to see it, and wanted to like it, but as you said, the CG just looked too...overdone.