buriedAmerican truck driver Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) wakes up bound and gagged inside a buried coffin somewhere in Iraq; at his disposal are a lighter and a cell phone. Spanish director Rodrigo Cortés’s first American film has Hitchcock’s fingerprints all over it, from the gorgeous Saul Bass-inspired opening titles to Victor Reyes’s dramatic music score – and of course, the setup. Just like Lifeboat (1944) and Rope (1948), the whole movie takes place in one setting, in this case a coffin. You’d think the filmmakers might run out of ways to keep the story moving and tension high before the end of the movie, but they don’t… and neither do they compromise. Strong performance by Reynolds.

2010-U.S.-Spain-France. 94 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Adrián Guerra, Peter Safran. Directed and edited by Rodrigo Cortés. Screenplay: Chris Sparling. Music: Victor Reyes. Cast: Ryan Reynolds (Paul Conroy). Voices of Samantha Mathis (Linda Conroy), Stephen Tobolowsky (Alan Davenport), Erik Palladino, José Luis García-Pérez, Robert Paterson.

Last word: “I think we established early on that this was going to be a dance between the two of us and filmmaking is a director’s medium through and through. I can only be as good as this guy will let me be, and as good as he can be. He felt like he had been living with this script for a decade, and that was really impressive. So I showed up and all these technical challenges that are married so intrinsically to this narrative challenge… well, none of that shit was my problem. All I had to do was just do my work in the box. I didn’t want to see his storyboards. I didn’t want to know his shots. I didn’t want to know what he was doing back there from his little enclave of buttons and monitors. I just wanted to go in there and do my thing. I think we may have said twelve words to each other socially throughout the shooting of the movie even though we were the best of buddies. It was just all work and it was all about that work and it was all about making something unusual.” (Reynolds, Hitfix)

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