BURIED (9/24/10; Thriller)
Unbelievably tense and claustrophobic thriller about an Iraq-based American truck driver named Paul Conroy (Reynolds), who, after being attacked, finds himself buried alive in a wooden coffin with a lighter and a cell phone. He attempts to contact his wife and his employers, ultimately figuring out from the FBI that he has been kidnapped. The ransom is $5 million.
As the air gets thinner and the battery on the phone wears down, Paul tries to figure out where he is and why he was taken. Reynolds’ intense performance is unvarnished and brutal, the actor’s finest moment. He’s confused, angry and determined, but he’s not an ultra-clever “movie character.” His weaknesses are all too relatable; and when the situation worsens, whether at the hands of an unseen enemy or the most horrible corporate lawyer on the planet, he reacts the same way any of us would.
Director Cortés finds every conceivable way to shoot from the inside of a coffin, bending physics and turning Sparling’s script of escalating dangers into a first-class seat squirmer. Buried is one clever and nasty piece of work. (Lionsgate)
— DENNIS WILLIS