Buried
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Buried

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Still courtesy of TIFF.

Buried

Directed by Rodrigo Cortés (Spain/USA, Special Presentations)
4 STARS
The idea of spending ninety minutes trapped in a coffin with smart-alecky Ryan Reynolds seems like a fairly, er, constricting proposal. A change of pace form his usual gigs playing smug, doe-eyed dudes in middling romantic comedies, or wiggling into spandex to play every superhero ever (speaking of which: Jon Hamm would make a much better Green Lantern). Reynolds is forced to do some serious dramatic heavy lifting in this suffocating thriller from Spanish director Rodrigo Cortés.
A civilian contractor working in Iraq whose convoy is ambushed by militants, Reynolds’ Paul Conroy awakens buried in a wooden coffin with only a cellphone, butane lighter, and a few other items he must use to MacGruber his way out. Using a BlackBerry with a dying battery (nice ticking-clock factor here) to place calls to his employer, wife, and government higher-ups, Conroy soon finds himself adrift in a bureaucratic mire. Cortés builds suspense masterfully, with even the banality of the hold-line Muzak providing ominous tension.
There are moments of agonizing unease in Buried, with Reynolds delivering a rare performance that makes the most of his every-dude charisma. With all the closed-quarters anxiety and convincing plot turns, some are already comparing Buried to Hitchcock’s taut thrillers. But there are moments here so unnerving that they’d likely make even the Master of Suspense feel a might claustrophobic.
Want more TIFF 2010? Torontoist’s complete coverage of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival is all right here.

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