While this minimalist movie earned some high praise, I have to wonder how much was due to minor ideological pandering. I couldn’t stand the movie. I’m an endings guy: if the ending is poor, I’ll judge the movie harshly – and the ending sucks.
The idea of a single-set, single-actor movie had appeal, but the story is riddled with plot holes and implausibilities. The movie struggles to find the right tone: the exaggerations employed by its mockery of petty modern idiocies sit uneasily with bleak scenes of execution and mutilation. Reynolds’s somewhat comic verbal struggles with clueless employees and his presumed ex- don’t fit beside serious allegations made against hostage rescue teams and HR departments.
The gritty style of Buried attempts to portray the real world, and makes weighty charges: that hostage rescue is more concerned with propaganda than saving lives, that HR departments fabricate dismissals to evade insurance obligations, and that the military is unconcerned with civilian lives. Coincidentally, this is the view of reality espoused by the entertainment industry’s end of the political spectrum. Heck, perhaps it’s all true, but the movie is clumsy and unconvincing in its retelling: each revelation is delivered whole, with little forshadowing and meagre clues.
The most annoying part of the film was the pandering to moral relativism: Reynolds is lectured that his captors are just like him, that their actions are the equivalent of him feeding his family. Despite this, the captors have fancy mobile phones (moreso than my poor accessory), internet, weapons, and a deep desire for money that leads them to kill and maim.
By the end of the film, I found Reynolds’s constant emoting tiring, and the crisis situations contrived and rather pointless.