Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) works as a truck driver in Iraq for CRT. He has a wife and child and loves them very much. He's an ordinary man, doing hard and dangerous work for money he needs. His life takes a turn for the complicated when he's kidnapped and buried alive.
Of course we don't learn all this right away. As the opening credits end we meet a man in a dark box. He finds some items inside with him. A cell phone, a pencil, a lighter and a few other things. As he starts making calls, we learn more about him. His kidnappers eventually call and tell him that if he wants to live he has to convince the US authorities to pay a 5 million dollars ransom. Obviously, that's not going to be so easy.
"Buried" is an almost unbearable experience. Not because the movie is bad, far from it. There's more to the story, but I won't spoil it for you. I can tell you that if you're looking for a claustrophobic and psychologicaly crippling experience, look no further. The tight camerawork, the darkness inside that box, illuminated at first only by the cell phone's light, the sound design, all deepen the disturbing experience.
Ryan Reynolds' performance is nothing short of a tour de force. I can't even imagine what it's like to act in a tight spot like that, yet he pulls it off, completely unhinged, in what is essentialy a "one man show". We sympathise with Paul Conroy, not just because of his predicament, but also because Reynolds makes him feel real. That's something the movie depends on, because for all of its running time, he's the only person we ever see. Everyone else is just a voice on the phone, thousands of miles away. The feeling of isolation and helplessness is overwhelming
Director Rodrigo Cortes and writer Chris Sparling craft a taut thriller that plays with your nerves and leaves you breathless, all accomplished without dumbing down the story or sacrificing credibility. This is anything but a fun time at the movies, but it's also the kind of brutal experience you'll have a hard time looking away from.