Buried comes to US Region A-locked Blu-ray complete with a 1080p High Definition video rendition in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of widescreen 2.35:1. As with other relatively close-quarters guerrilla-shot independent movies (I’m looking at you, Monsters), this film was never intended to look good, at least not in the glossy Bruckheimer sense of the word. Buried is a claustrophobic and extremely limited affair, with one set, one actor in the same clothing, and limited lighting. Thus the end result is a movie which runs on shimmering glimpses, shadows, fading flashlights, and the blue neon hue of a mobile phone. Considering all of that, detail is pretty good, the movie existing almost entirely on close-up shots of Reynolds, twisted and constrained within his tuna-can environment. You can see the beads of sweat gathering on his brow, the dried trickle of blood from his head-wound, every tiny hair on his unshaven face – it’s all well-represented. There’s little edge enhancement, acceptable softness, and, best of all, there’s no damn posterization (a BIG side-effect of low-lighting, and one which plagued the recent release of Monsters). The movie boasts enough noise to give it that nice, filmic edge, and I dare say looks as good, if not better, than it did on the Big Screen. The colour scheme is admittedly quite restricted, but we do get red tint, blue tint and yellow tint, all of which showcase no signs of bleeding. And blacks are resoundingly solid throughout, which gives the movie that integral depth required to pull off some of the most claustrophobic light-less shots. Overall the video is far from demo-quality, obviously limited by the source material, but nevertheless totally accurate in its depiction of said material.
The movie begins with a large period of total darkness, utter endless black, with just sounds to paint the picture of what is going on, and, even when you get (literally) a spark of light, the majority of the movie relies as much if not more on sound than it does on fleeting visuals. Thankfully we get an outstanding, easily demo-quality DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track to accompany the tense thriller, a well-nuanced and keenly observed offering that truly does the claustrophobic, immensely tense narrative justice. The key dialogue is given noteworthy resonance, coming across clearly and coherently throughout, perfectly rendering Reynolds increasingly desperate tones, and largely dominating the frontal array. Effects are where the action is, and despite the lack of bombast (it’s just not that kind of movie), every single minute noise within the wooden confines is replicated with loving authenticity, fidelity, and excellent dynamic use. The creaking wood, the seeping sand, the clink of the zippo lighter and the crackle of its flame, the ring or vibrate of the mobile phone – it’s all splendidly realised, accurate to the point where you’ll start to feel the walls closing in around you in your own living room. With a restrained, but perfectly pitched score underpinning the eventful proceedings, this is a superior aural accompaniment that truly does the moody mystery justice.
Despite the solid video and superior audio, the extras are pretty thin on the ground for this particular release, and basically we only get a single, solitary Featurette, and a mixed-bag selection of trailers, including a couple for the main feature itself.
Unearthing Buriedis an 18-minute making-of Featurette which covers all the bases – interview snippets from the cast and crew, behind the scenes glimpses of the movie being shot, and clips from the movie itself to pad things out. Although it borders on being the usual EPK kind of offering, it’s quite nice to hear from the two main individuals involved – the Director and the Star – and interesting to get a hint of an insight into how they pulled off such a restrictive, literally tight, shoot. It’s just a shame that this is all that they included on the extras front.
Following on from the one-man show that was Moon, and the fantastic road-trip that was Monsters, the latest high-concept, minimalist-delivery indie production to have critics and audiences delivering rave reviews is Spanish filmmaker Rodrigo Cortés’s acclaimed suspense thriller Buried. It is literally about a man trapped in a coffin underground, and yet somehow Cortés manages to eke out every last drop of tension from the restrictive environment and claustrophobic situation, playing on our own personal fears to deliver a positively exhausting experience. And with a powerhouse central performance by Ryan Reynolds – holding the entire movie together single-handedly – one can’t help but be amazed by just how far an eager new filmmaker can go with a great actor and a terrific premise.
On Region A-locked US Blu-ray we have surprisingly good video (considering the inherent limitations of the low budget affair) and outstanding audio, but a distinct lack of extras that come across as marginally disappointing. Overall, however, despite the unlikely chance of a quick rewatch, this is a quality indie thriller that is well worth showing off to your mates, and thus worth considering as an addition to your collection. If not, you should at least definitely rent it – you can’t afford to miss out on breathtakingly original movies like this.
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