Deadpool brought Ryan Reynolds greater fame. It was a blockbuster hit and established Reynolds as an entertainer par excellence. But even before Deadpool, Reynolds had always been great fun to watch on screen.
Be it the multiple romantic-comedies he has done in the past or in a crime drama like Smokin’ Aces – the actor has always held his own. But because of films like The Proposal, Just Friends and Definitely, Maybe, Reynolds had been for a while stereotyped as the guy with the comic chops. Sure, he has them, but that’s not the only thing about him as a performer that deserves attention.
Not many know about a film that Reynolds had done in 2010 called Buried. It was gripping, tense and heartbreaking in more ways than one. It had its share of flaws but that doesn’t take anything away from the Rodrigo Cortés’ flick.
The film begins with darkness, followed by a shot of Ryan Reynolds’ character Paul Conroy struggling to make sense of the said darkness. Paul Conroy has been buried alive in a wooden coffin. But how did he land up there? Conroy is an American civilian working in Iraq as a truck driver. He’s attacked by highly-efficient goons and lands up where he does. His attackers are angry with him because he’s taking away their source of livelihood, and to top it all, he’s an American.
The entire film is confined to the coffin our hero is stuck in. He battles a snake, his anxiety, and the overwhelming fear that he will not live to see another day, all within the duration of one-and-a-half-hour.
In the film, Reynolds’ character is left with a phone by his abductor, who wants a ransom in exchange for his (Reynolds’) freedom. The phone is used several times by Reynolds to contact potential rescuers, who only have frustratingly inconsequential questions for him in turn. It is in moments like these when Ryan’s helplessness pierces through the screen.
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Buried is a beautifully shot movie and the film is full of several close-up shots of Ryan Reynolds, who is a picture of pain and intense vulnerability in all of them. Throughout the entire duration of the film, you are gob-smacked, because how else are you supposed to react to a person who is so alone and closed off from the rest of the world?
And of course, there are moments when Reynolds the person shines through. Reynolds as we know him through social media and press interviews. The one who is always ready with a repartee. Like when his character speaks to an acquaintance, and he ends up cursing her for her lack of emotion or when he is just plain annoyed at the kind of lukewarm responses he is being given by people who are supposed to be responsible for his life. A bit of black comedy there, but thankfully not enough to ruin the whole film.
To put it simplistically, Buried is 1 hour 30 minutes of clenched fists. And FYI, it also has a fulfilling yet harrowing climax. Buried is, in other words, another proof of Ryan Reynolds’ acting chops.