''Buried'' is a 2010 English-language Spanish psychological thriller film
directed by Rodrigo Cortés
. It stars Ryan Reynolds
and was written by Chris Sparling
The story is about Iraq-based American civilian truck driver Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds
), who, after being attacked, finds himself buried alive in a wooden coffin, with only a lighter, flask, flashlight, knife, glowsticks, pen, pencil, and a mobile phone. Since its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival
, the film has received a positive critical reception.
In 2006, Paul Conroy, an American civilian working in Iraq
, awakes to find himself buried in a wooden coffin
with only a Zippo
lighter, a pen, and a BlackBerry
phone at hand. As he gradually begins to piece together what has happened to him, he recalls that he and several others were ambushed by terrorists, passing out after being hit by a rock. After calling 911
, the FBI
in Chicago and his employer (none of whom help him), he receives a call from his kidnapper, Jabir, demanding that he pay a ransom of $5 million or he will be left in the coffin to die. Along with the script Paul is to read, Paul also finds a malfunctioning flashlight, a glow stick, a flask with alcohol, and a pocket knife.
Conroy calls the State Department
, which tells him that due to the government policy of not negotiating with terrorists
, it will not pay the ransom but will try to rescue him. They connect him with Dan Brenner, head of the Hostage Working Group
, who tells Conroy they are working to find him, to conserve the Blackberry's battery life, and implores him not to make the video that Jabir has demanded. Brenner informs Conroy that a man named Mark White was rescued from a similar situation three weeks prior and is now home safe with his family. Paul calls his mother, who is in a nursing home, but she barely remembers him due to severe dementia
Jabir calls Conroy again and demands he film a ransom video, sending a photo of his colleague, Pamela, gagged with a gun to her head. Conroy insists that no one will pay $5 million, so Jabir drops the amount to $1 million. Conroy finds a live snake in the coffin, which he is able to kill. After switching the language on the Blackberry to English, he finds the Blackberry's number, which he relays to his wife in a voicemail. Conroy records the video, however, the kidnappers execute Pamela anyway and send him video of the murder. He calls Brenner, who is upset with him for making the video, which is now being played on all major networks and has received numerous views on YouTube
Shortly afterward, distant explosions shake the area, which damage his coffin, causing it to slowly fill with sand. His employer's legal counsel calls him, asking him not to speak with anyone in order to keep the situation "contained". His employer then begins to record the call and informs him that he has been retroactively terminated from his job earlier that same day (conveniently before his capture) due to an alleged prohibited relationship with Pamela. Because of this, his company will not only not take any responsibility for his capture, and he and his family will not be entitled to any benefits or pension earned with the company.
Brenner calls saying that the explosions that damaged his coffin earlier were in fact F-16
bombings and that his kidnappers may have been killed. Conroy begins to lose hope and makes a last will and testament
in video form, leaving his wife his personal savings and his son his clothes. Jabir calls demanding Conroy video record himself cutting off a finger, threatening Conroy's family back home by revealing their home address. Conroy complies with this demand.
Shortly after filming the video, his cell phone rings, and Conroy begins to hear digging and distorted voices. The voices become clearer, saying to open the coffin, and the coffin opens. It abruptly becomes obvious that he hallucinated the encounter.
Brenner calls and tells Conroy an insurgent has given details of where to find a man buried alive, and that they are driving out to rescue him. Conroy then receives a tearful call from his wife Linda, and he assures her that he is going to be okay. As sand continues to fill the coffin to dangerous levels, giving Conroy seconds left to live, Brenner calls and tells him that he and the rescue team have arrived at the burial site. Through the phone, digging is heard, but Conroy cannot hear any digging around him. The team digs up a coffin and opens it, but it is revealed that the insurgent led them to Mark White's coffin, the man Brenner claimed had been rescued. Knowing that he’s not going to be saved, Paul tries to calm himself down and accepts his fate. The film ends with Brenner profusely apologizing to Conroy as the sand finally fills the coffin and he suffocates as the light goes out, and the screen goes black.
In a post-credits scene
, a lighter illuminates the name "Mark White" on the lid of the coffin, written by Paul earlier.
* Ryan Reynolds
as Paul Conroy
* José Luis García Pérez (''voice'') as Jabir
* Robert Paterson (''voice'') as Dan Brenner
* Stephen Tobolowsky
(''voice'') as Alan Davenport
* Samantha Mathis
(''voice'') as Linda Conroy
* Ivana Miño (''voice'') as Pamela Lutti
* Warner Loughlin (''voice'') as Maryanne Conroy / Donna Mitchell / number lady
* Erik Palladino
(''voice'') as Special Agent Harris
The film was produced by Barcelona
-based Versus Entertainment, in association with The Safran Company
and Dark Trick Films.
It was shot in Barcelona
over 16 days.
Lead actor Ryan Reynolds
stated that he suffered from claustrophobia while filming (much like the character he plays). The coffin he was in was gradually filled with sand as filming went on such that he was actually buried while shooting the film's climactic moments. Ryan described the last day of shooting as "unlike anything I experienced in my life, and I never ever want to experience that again." The production crew had a team of paramedics waiting on standby. One of director Rodrigo Cortés' inspirations was the film ''Rope
'' directed by Alfred Hitchcock
''Buried'' premiered at the Sundance Film Festival
on January 23, 2010. Lionsgate
purchased the theatrical rights to the film and gave the film a limited theatrical release on September 24, 2010 and a wider release two weeks later on October 8, 2010. The film's first trailer premiered with ''A Nightmare on Elm Street
''. The second trailer premiered at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International
, and was attached with select prints of ''Dinner for Schmucks
'', ''Resident Evil: Afterlife
'', ''The Expendables
'' and ''The Last Exorcism
The film won the best European feature film of the year award at the Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival
in September 2010.
The film was presented at the Deauville American Film Festival
, in competition, and the Toronto International Film Festival
out of competition, in September 2010.
, the film holds an 87% approval rating on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes
, based on 156 reviews with an average rating
of 7.3/10. The site's consensus says: "Wringing a seemingly impossible amount of gripping drama out of its claustrophobic premise, ''Buried'' is a nerve-wracking showcase for Ryan Reynolds
's talent." Metacritic
gives it a weighted average
of 65 out of 100 based on 29 critic reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Film critic Roger Ebert
awarded the film 3.5 out of 4 stars and wrote that "Rodrigo Cortés, the Spanish filmmaker behind this diabolical, Hitchcock-influenced narrative stunt, makes merry mischief with camera angles and lighting". Scott Mantz
of ''Access Hollywood'' called it "a brilliantly twisted suspense thriller that would have made Alfred Hitchcock
proud." Chris Tilly at IGN
gave the film a perfect 10 out of 10. Peter Travers
of ''Rolling Stone
'' awarded the film 2 out of 4 stars, commenting: "Ninety minutes of being buried alive with Ryan Reynolds: Didn't we all suffer that in ''The Proposal
* Survival film
, about the film genre, with a list of related films
Category:2010 psychological thriller films
Category:Spanish thriller films
Category:Films about solitude
Category:Films about terrorism
Category:Films set in Iraq
Category:Films set in 2006
Category:Films shot in Barcelona
Category:Films shot in Spain
Category:Iraq War films
Category:Icon Productions films
Category:Scanbox Entertainment films
Category:Survival thriller films
Category:Films directed by Rodrigo Cortés