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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack Review: Buried

January 16th, 2011

Buried - Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack - Buy from Amazon: Buy from Amazon

Buried is a low-budget suspense film that opened in limited release late last year. Expectations were not very high, because this is not the kind of film that generally does well in limited release. However, it earned excellent reviews and did quite well during its opening weekend, pulling in $100,000 in just 11 theaters. Unfortunately, it wasn't able to carry that momentum forward as it expanded and it stalled out at just over $1 million. Now that it is coming out on a Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack, will it be able to perform better?

The Movie

Ryan Reynolds stars as Paul Conroy, whom we meet waking up inside a makeshift coffin. ... This film doesn't mess around and it gets you right into the action. Paul is a contract worker in Iraq and when he wakes up, he's not sure where he is, or how he got there. All he has on him is a cell phone and a zippo lighter.

We are about 5 minutes into the movie, and we've hit a wall of spoilers. There's practically nothing more I can say without giving something away, and I'd rather not take the chance of accidentally spoiling anything. The amount of tension generated with such a simple setup and an extremely limited cast / location is incredible. Credit first has to go with the script, which makes amazing use of the limited elements within the movie. The direction goes along way in increasing the sense of claustrophobia and isolation, while I'm a little surprised Ryan Reynolds hasn't earned more Awards Season buzz. He did pick up a Goya nomination, one of ten earned by the film, so there's a chance he'll receive some recognition for his performance.

On a side note, one could argue Buried was the big winner when the Goya nominations were announced, even though it was topped by a number of films. Because we only see Ryan Reynolds on screen, there are no supporting actors, no actresses in the movie, no first timers either. One could hardly expect it to earn nominations for costumes or art direction, either. So in essence, it was nominated for every category is could legitimately compete in.

Buried is a very tense experience and is a must see.

The Extras

The film is only being released on one format, a Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack. The only extra on this release is an 18-minute making of featurette. That's incrediblly disappointing, but I guess since it is a Spanish film, and it only played in limited release, it's not unexpected.

As for the film's technical presentation, it's as good as you can expect, given its low budget and its other limiting factors. The film is set in a coffin with the only light sources being his zippo lighter and his cell phone, so you shouldn't expect the colors to pop. Nor can you expect a dynamic music mix, as the plot is almost entirely dialogue driven. The image details are better than expected, which is extra important during the close ups of Ryan Reynolds' face, while there are parts where the surround sound speakers are used to good effect.

Since there is only one format coming out, it's impossible to compare the price of the Blu-ray to the DVD, but at just $20 on, it's a good deal.

The Verdict

Buried is a movie that you need to see, and while the Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack doesn't offer a lot of value added extras, it is still worth picking up over just renting. That said, with a full selection of extras, it could have been pick of the week material.

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Filed under: Video Review, Buried