THE BEAUTY OF SINGLE LOCATION MOVIES
For weeks, it seemed everyone was asking me if I had seen Buried yet. It was definitely next on my list of must see movies and I’m so happy I finally got a chance to see it. It was fantastic.
Movies with one location and one character are all concerned with the same issue. Can you sustain people’s interest for long periods of time and avoid boring the crap out of them? It’s difficult when you are dealing with a specific set of rules that the location provides. In this case, a coffin is all the filmmakers had to play with and they did an incredible job.
Buried not only succeeds in holding your interest, it takes a hold and doesn’t let go. From the horrifying premise established in the opening seconds to the incredible final moments, I was completely hooked.
I’m actually a little disappointed that the script wasn’t mentioned much in the race for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar. I honestly think if the top 5 are nominees then Buried would surely be number 6 or 7. It’s not easy to tell a compelling story when you are so confined to a strict location. In this case, screenwriter Chris Sparling does a fantastic job creating tension using nothing but a cell phone.
Not since Kill Bill Volume Two and The Descent, have a felt so claustrophobic while watching a movie. This may have been the worst. I wish I could talk more about the intense ending without giving too much away but I refuse to ruin movies for anyone. Lets just say it was a perfect way to end the movie without selling out by breaking it’s own rules. At the same time, the film manages to incorporate some pretty strong opinions on the politics surrounding Iraq, the media and corporate policies.
Buried is more than just a movie about a guy in a coffin.
It’s a commentary on the weight of today’s politics versus a single human life. One man vs The Big(ger) Picture. It’s a profound way to add depth to a premise that definitely needed as many story threads as possible.
There are so many elements of this movie that I loved. I loved Ryan Reynolds’ chilling performance. I loved the direction of Rodrigo Cortez. I love all the ways they lit and shot the movie. I loved the editing.
A while back, I wrote a review for Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours and a mentioned how much the film inspired me as a professional editor. Reader Nastee commented on the merits of Buried.
“I think Buried was a MUCH better movie than 127 hours, because it was kept simple. It’s a much bigger achievement to make an exciting movie with just the guy in his box.”
Nastee brought up an interesting point. Each filmmaker takes the ‘one character/one location’ premise in completely different directions.
Which one is better? It depends on the types of movies you like. However, I’m now on the record of loving them both. Stay tuned to find out who wins.
Regardless, Buried is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while. I loved it. Well worth a rent!