Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - February, 2011

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"Buried" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

movie-february-2011-buried

Synopsis

Truck driver Paul Conroy wakes up to find he’s been kidnapped and buried alive in a pine box.  He only knows he’s somewhere in Iraq.  He has a cellphone and a lighter.  During his 90-minute odyssey, he calls his wife, his employer and several employees at the US State Department.  He also talks with his captor who is demanding money for his release.  Paul has to contend with his dwindling air supply, a snake that makes its way inside the box and the people at the other end of the phone who are more interested in keeping his plight out of the news than they are in helping him.

Specifications

  • Lionsgate
  • 2010, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 35 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Codec:  AVC
  • 1080p
  • English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring:  Ryan Reynolds
  • Directed by Rodrigo Cortés
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Bad

Commentary

Let me answer the first and foremost question right now – yes, this entire movie takes place within Paul’s coffin.  Aside from a brief cellphone video, the only set is the pine box.  Ryan Reynolds literally performs a one-man show for the whole 90 minutes.  And he does a fantastic job with a totally believable and gut-wrenching performance.  Parts of the film dragged for me but most of it was pretty exciting.  My biggest beef, which is my reason for the three-star rating, is the ending.  I won’t reveal anything but suffice it to say, it was extremely disappointing.  I would rate this Blu-ray worth a rental.

Technical

The only lighting used in this film is Paul’s lighter, a chemical glow stick, a flashlight and a cellphone screen.  Despite this challenge, the image quality was quite good.  The only real flaw was an elevated black level.  There are several moments when the screen is completely dark and it never dropped below a dark gray.  The image area was clearly brighter than the cinemascope bars.  Color was natural and you could clearly see the differences between the various light sources.  Detail was also excellent especially in the many closeups of Ryan Reynolds razor-stubbled face.  Dirt and sweat popped from the screen whenever the lights were on.

Audio detail was among the best I’ve ever heard.  You will want to watch this film in as quiet a room as possible.  There are many extremely low-level effects that will be lost if there is any ambient noise.  It really adds to the realism and makes the film even more suspenseful.  There was one scene when the box creaked and I literally looked up at the ceiling.  The sound design made me feel as though I were in the coffin with Paul.  My sub did get a few chances to shine when F-16s bombed Paul’s position or anytime he beat on the box.

Extras

Bonus features include a making-of featurette and a set of trailers.