Buried (film)

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Buried Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRodrigo Cortés
Written byChris Sparling
Produced by
StarringRyan Reynolds
CinematographyEduard Grau
Edited byRodrigo Cortés
Music byVíctor Reyes
Distributed by
Icon Film Distribution (United Kingdom and Australia)
Release date
  • September 24, 2010 (2010-09-24)
Running time
95 minutes
United Kingdom
  • France
  • Australia
  • United States
Budget$2 million[2][3]
Box office$21.3 million[2]

Buried is a 2010 internationally co-produced survival drama film directed by Rodrigo Cortés.[4] It stars Ryan Reynolds[5] and was written by Chris Sparling.

The story is about Iraq-based American civilian truck driver Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds), who, after being attacked, finds himself buried alive in a wooden coffin, with only a lighter, flask, flashlight, knife, glowsticks, pen, pencil, and a mobile phone. Since its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, the film has received a positive critical reception.


In 2006, Paul Conroy, an American civilian working in Iraq, awakes to find himself buried in a wooden coffin with only a Zippo lighter, a pen, and a BlackBerry phone at hand. As he gradually begins to piece together what has happened to him, he recalls that he and several others were ambushed by terrorists, passing out after being hit by a rock. After calling 911 in Youngstown, Ohio, the FBI in Chicago and his employer (none of whom help him), he receives a call from his kidnapper, Jabir, demanding that he pay a ransom of $5 million or he will be left in the coffin to die. Along with the script Paul is to read, Paul also finds a malfunctioning flashlight, a glow stick, a flask with alcohol, and a pocket knife.

Paul calls the State Department, which tells him that due to the government policy of not negotiating with terrorists, it will not pay the ransom but will try to rescue him. They connect him with Dan Brenner, head of the Hostage Working Group, who tells Paul they are working to find him, to conserve the Blackberry's battery life, and implores him not to make the video that Jabir has demanded. Brenner informs Paul that a man named Mark White was rescued from a similar situation three weeks prior and is now home safe with his family. Paul calls his mother, who is in a nursing home, but she barely remembers him due to severe dementia.

Jabir calls Paul again and demands he film a ransom video, sending a photo of his colleague, Pamela, gagged with a gun to her head. Paul insists that no one will pay $5 million, so Jabir drops the amount to $1 million. Paul finds a live snake in the coffin, which he is able to drive away through a hole in the wooden crate side with a fire from the alcohol. After switching the language on the Blackberry to English, he finds the Blackberry's number, which he relays to his wife in a voicemail. Paul records the video, however, the kidnappers execute Pamela anyway and send him video of the murder. He calls Brenner, who is upset with him for making the video, which is now being played on all major networks and has received numerous views on YouTube.

Shortly afterward, distant explosions shake the area, which damage his coffin, causing it to slowly fill with sand. His employer's legal counsel calls him, asking him not to speak with anyone in order to keep the situation "contained". His employer then begins to record the call and informs him that he has been retroactively terminated from his job earlier that same day (conveniently before his capture) due to an alleged prohibited relationship with Pamela. Because of this, his company will not only not take any responsibility for his capture, but he and his family also will not be entitled to any benefits or pension earned with the company.

Brenner calls saying that the explosions that damaged his coffin earlier were in fact F-16 bombings and that his kidnappers may have been killed. Paul begins to lose hope and makes a last will and testament in video form, leaving his wife his personal savings and his son his clothes. Jabir calls demanding Paul video record himself cutting off a finger, threatening Paul’s family back home by revealing their home address. Paul complies with this demand.

Shortly after filming the video, his cell phone rings, and Paul begins to hear digging and distorted voices. The voices become clearer, saying to open the coffin, and the coffin opens. It abruptly becomes obvious that he hallucinated the encounter.

Brenner calls and tells Paul an insurgent has given details of where to find a man buried alive, and that they are driving out to rescue him. Paul then receives a tearful call from his wife Linda, and he assures her that he is going to be okay. As sand continues to fill the coffin to dangerous levels, giving Paul seconds left to live, Brenner calls and tells him that he and the rescue team have arrived at the burial site. Through the phone, digging is heard, but Paul cannot hear any digging around him. The team digs up a coffin and opens it, but it is revealed that the insurgent led them to the coffin of Mark White, the man Brenner claimed had been rescued. Knowing that he is not going to be saved, Paul tries to calm himself down and accepts his fate. The film ends with Brenner profusely apologizing to Paul as the sand finally fills the coffin and he suffocates as the light goes out, and the screen goes black.

In a post-credits scene, a lighter illuminates the name "Mark White" on the lid of the coffin, written by Paul earlier.



The film was produced by Barcelona-based Versus Entertainment, in association with The Safran Company and Dark Trick Films.[1] It was shot in Barcelona over 16 days.[6] Lead actor Ryan Reynolds stated that he suffered from claustrophobia while filming (much like the character he plays). The coffin he was in was gradually filled with sand as filming went on such that he was actually buried while shooting the film's climactic moments. Ryan described the last day of shooting as "unlike anything I experienced in my life, and I never ever want to experience that again." The production crew had a team of paramedics waiting on standby. One of director Rodrigo Cortés' inspirations was the film Rope directed by Alfred Hitchcock.[6]


Buried premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2010. Lionsgate purchased the theatrical rights to the film and gave the film a limited theatrical release on September 24, 2010 and a wider release two weeks later on October 8, 2010. The film's first trailer premiered with A Nightmare on Elm Street. The second trailer premiered at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International, and was attached with select prints of Dinner for Schmucks, Resident Evil: Afterlife, The Expendables and The Last Exorcism.

The film won the best European feature film of the year award at the Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival in September 2010.[7]

The film was presented at the Deauville American Film Festival, in competition, and the Toronto International Film Festival,[8] out of competition, in September 2010.

Critical reception[edit]

On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 87% based on 157 reviews with an average rating of 7.3/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "Wringing a seemingly impossible amount of gripping drama out of its claustrophobic premise, Buried is a nerve-wracking showcase for Ryan Reynolds' talent."[9] Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 65 out of 100 based on 29 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[10]

Film critic Roger Ebert awarded the film 3.5 out of 4 stars and wrote that "Rodrigo Cortés, the Spanish filmmaker behind this diabolical, Hitchcock-influenced narrative stunt, makes merry mischief with camera angles and lighting".[11] Scott Mantz of Access Hollywood called it "a brilliantly twisted suspense thriller that would have made Alfred Hitchcock proud."[12] Chris Tilly at IGN gave the film a perfect 10 out of 10.[13] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone awarded the film 2 out of 4 stars, commenting: "Ninety minutes of being buried alive with Ryan Reynolds: Didn't we all suffer that in The Proposal?"[14]

Film director John Waters named Buried as one of the ten best films of 2010 stating "The most excruciatingly painful date movie imaginable comes complete with a very smart feel-bad ending. See it with someone you hate."[15]

Filmmakers Nick Park, Peter Lord, Todd Haynes and The Wachowskis, actresses Cate Blanchett and Julie Andrews and actors Ralph Fiennes, Daniel Radcliffe, Freddie Highmore and Alistair Petrie have cited it as one of their favorite films.


Award Category Subject Result Ref.
Gaudí Award Best Actor Ryan Reynolds Nominated [16]
Best Visual Effects Mònica Alarcón, María de la Cámara,
Gabriel Paré and Àlex Villagrassa
Nominated [17]
Best Art Direction Maria de la Cámara and Gabriel Paré Nominated [17]
Best Editing Rodrigo Cortés Won [18]
Best Director Nominated [16]
Best Sound Urko Garai, James Muñoz, Marc Orts Nominated [17]
Best Original Screenplay Chris Sparling Nominated
Best Film in non-Catalan language Adrián Guerra and Peter Safran Won [18]
Goya Award Best Actor Ryan Reynolds Nominated [19]
Best Original Score Víctor Reyes Nominated
Best Original Song Nominated
Rodrigo Cortés Nominated
Best Editing Won
Best Director Nominated
Best Sound Urko Garai, James Muñoz, Marc Orts Won
Best Film Adrián Guerra and Peter Safran Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Chris Sparling Won
Best Special Effects Nominated
IGN Movie Award Best Performance Ryan Reynolds Nominated [20]
Méliès International Festivals Federation Méliès d'Or Won [21]
MTV Movie Award Best Scared-As-S**t Performance Ryan Reynolds Nominated [22]
National Board of Review Award Best Original Screenplay Chris Sparling Won [23]
Saturn Award Best Actor Ryan Reynolds Nominated [24]
Fangoria Chainsaw Award Best Actor Won
Best Limited-Release/Direct-to-Video Film Nominated
Best Screenplay Chris Sparling Nominated
Best Score Víctor Reyes Nominated
Strasbourg European Fantastic
Film Festival Award
Best European Film Adrián Guerra and Peter Safran Won [25]

See also[edit]

  • Survival film, about the film genre, with a list of related films


  1. ^ a b c d "Buried (2010)". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. 2012. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d "Buried". The Numbers.
  3. ^ "Ryan Reynolds interviewed by Jian Ghomeshi on Q". CBC.ca. September 28, 2010. Retrieved September 29, 2010.
  4. ^ "Sundance Festival One-Sheet: Buried". Dreadcentral.com. January 18, 2010. Retrieved September 29, 2010.
  5. ^ "New Stills: Ryan Reynolds is Buried Alive". Dread Central. December 10, 2009. Archived from the original on December 15, 2009. Retrieved September 29, 2010.
  6. ^ a b Boucher, Geoff (September 12, 2010). "The Directors: Rodrigo Cortés builds suspense in 'Buried'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on March 6, 2016. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  7. ^ Brown, Todd (October 14, 2010). "Sitges 2010: Buried Wins Prestigious Melies D'Or". Twitchfilm.com. Archived from the original on October 20, 2011. Retrieved May 16, 2011.
  8. ^ Lambert, Christine (2010). "Buried press conference photos - 35th Toronto International Film Festival". DigitalHit.com. Retrieved April 10, 2012.
  9. ^ "Buried Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  10. ^ "Buried Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 14, 2012.
  11. ^ "'Buried' review by Roger Ebert". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on March 10, 2013. Retrieved July 10, 2020.
  12. ^ Mantz, Scott (September 21, 2010). "MovieMantz Review: 'Buried'". Access Hollywood. Retrieved August 27, 2015.
  13. ^ Tilly, Chris (September 23, 2010). "Buried Review". IGN. Retrieved May 16, 2011.
  14. ^ Travers, Peter (September 24, 2010). "Buried". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 16, 2011.
  15. ^ Waters, John. John Waters: Best films of 2010. joeclark.org. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
  16. ^ a b "'Pa negre', 'Herois' y 'Buried', grandes favoritas en los III Premios Gaudí". La Vanguardia (in Spanish). January 17, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  17. ^ a b c "Nominades - III Premis Gaudí". Gaudí Awards (in Catalan). Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  18. ^ a b "'Buried' engalana su carrera hacia los Premios Goya". La Nueva España (in Spanish). January 18, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  19. ^ "Premios Goya 2011 en EL PAÍS". El País (in Spanish). Archived from the original on June 27, 2014. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  20. ^ "Best Actor". IGN. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  21. ^ Hopewell, John (October 25, 2010). "Buried wins Europe's Melies d'Or". Variety. Retrieved October 25, 2010.
  22. ^ "Twilight leads MTV Movie Award noms". News24. May 4, 2011. Retrieved July 13, 2020.
  23. ^ Pond, Steve (December 2, 2010). "'The Social Network' Sweeps National Board of Review". TheWrap. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  24. ^ Moore, Debi (February 24, 2011). "2011 Saturn Award Nominees Announced". Dread Central. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  25. ^ "Buried". European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation. Archived from the original on July 11, 2015. Retrieved July 31, 2015.

External links[edit]