Tuesday, February 15, 2011


It opens with Hitchcockian titles and Bernstein like music and proceeds into a film with a premise the master himself may have admired: a man is buried in a coffin with only a cellphone and a lighter. This will be the entire show, the actor and the box. This is a tough acting challenge, and I was a little skeptical when I hear Ryan Reynolds would be starring (although the idea of watching him squirm and struggle for 90 minutes is not without its appeal). However, Reynolds is not the problem, although he is not particularly strong. The problem lies with constant contrivances in the plot (though the end is somewhat daring) and the need of the filmmakers to politicize the film (it takes place in Iraq). It is effective in generating some tension by showing the frustrations associated with bureaucracy and the camera work does its best with limited space. I was reminded of 127 Hours, another film focused on one immobilized actor, and although they were not quite the same story, how that film was able to do so much more with just as little.