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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Buried is a very intense thriller that takes place entirely within a coffin buried under the sand. Considering that most people have an innate fear of being buried alive, the movie can be nearly excruciating to watch -- although it's very well made. The main character (played by Ryan Reynolds) has a lighter, a cell phone, and some other supplies, but he's the only person shown on screen. Expect some intense behavior and strong language (including many uses of "f--k"). Brave older teens and grown-ups may be intrigued, but be ready for nightmares.
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What's the story?
Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) is a non-military contractor driving a truck in Iraq, circa 2006. He wakes up in total darkness, shocked to discover that he's in a coffin, apparently buried alive somewhere in the Iraqi desert. He has a cigarette lighter and a flask, and he has been given a cell phone, a flashlight, and a couple of glow sticks. He begins calling anyone he can think of for help, all the while fighting an endless array of troubles -- mainly the ever-diminishing air supply inside the coffin, but also a snake attack, a cave-in, and the horrible, horrible panic that won't ever completely go away...
Is it any good?
Spanish director/editor Rodrigo Cortés makes an impressive U.S. debut from a tightly crafted, classically thrilling script by Chris Sparling. The idea of staying entirely inside the coffin for a full movie is a huge challenge, and the filmmakers have mounted it admirably; they reveal information a little at a time, provide an emotional ebb and flow (with essential rest periods for the audience), and ramp it up when the time is right.
This, it goes without saying, sets the stage for a tour-de-force one-man show, and Reynolds makes it his own; it's a superb performance, possibly Oscar-worthy. Overall, Buried is an astonishing, even daring achievement. The major problem is that it plays into a deep, basic human fear, and most viewers may not want to put themselves through it. In other words, it's a very, very good film, but it's difficult to recommend.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.