Buried

ďBuriedĒ is a really different movie experience.  Itís like a one-act, one-person play, on the big screen.  Ryan Reynolds plays Paul Conroy, an American truck driver who decided to take a job in Iraq .  Heís not a soldier.  Heís not a spy.  Heís not a shadow operative of any kind.  Heís just a contractor.  He delivers supplies to schools and businesses.  Thatís all. 

But itís not simple as he wishes it were.  At the beginning of this film, we wake up in the dark with him in his own coffin.  Heís buried alive in a wooden box.  He has a cell phone and a lighter, and later discovers a flashlight.  Theyíve been helpfully supplied by his captors so he could make a video on the cell phone decrying American imperialism.  He tries to claim that he doesnít know anything about the politics, heís not a combatant, but the person on the other end is singularly unsympathetic.

In fact, thatís pretty much what Paul Conroy encounters no matter whom he tries to call.  The company he works for hands him over to some guy in legal who wants him to understand that he was fired one day prior to getting captured, so they wouldnít be responsible for his insurance to his survivors.  He gets his wifeís voicemail.  Again and again.  He tries to call someone else who knows her---a friend?-----but after her unhelpfulness he winds up screaming at her in frustration. 

Sure, heís going crazy with claustrophobia and fear---who wouldnít be?  He tries calling the FBI, the State Department, 911, anybody---and finally he finds someone in a government office somewhere who claims to be searching for him, but he fears even this faceless voice is some glorified baby-sitter who isnít really mounting a rescue operation, they just want to know his exact location, so theyíll have a more precise co-ordinates for their next target.

This is an intense, visceral, kind of theater experience, that most people will not want to avail themselves of----there are no laughs, no lightheartedness, no chase scenes, no clever computer graphics, no sexy eye candy, no breathtaking landscapes, no cutesie relationship humor----nothing but increased anxiety, panic and helplessness.  Itís disturbing, but in its unique, frightening, way, draws the viewer into a personal hell thatís unlike any other.

 

Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, Greenville , Texas