Buried and Takers

Ah, the joys of having afternoon CPD sessions. Not the greatest of fun last thing before the weekend, but it does place me near the local Cineworld. As such, as soon as the lecture was over I drove right along the road and picked up a ticket for…

Buried

Plot-in-a-nutshell: Man wakes up to find himself trapped in a wooden box. Time and air are running out.

Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) is having a bad day. He’s just woken up trapped inside a wooden coffin, buried underground. The last thing he remembers is his convoy being attacked, his co-workers being shot… and then taking a blow to the head.

Oh, and he was in Iraq at the time.

Director Rodrigo Cortés has gone for the most claustrophobic film he could. Taking the single-scene premise of Phone Booth and pushing it to extremes, the entire film is located in this one dark location. Reynolds’ is the only face we see, the other characters only featuring as voices.

It’s a great idea for a film, and a brave one for mainstream cinema. It is well filmed with all angles of the box being seen constantly so you really get a feeling for  Conroy’s situation. Reynolds plays the part very well, for someone who apparently has made his way so far with comedy roles. Having said that, the best lines in the film are ones which did get the audience laughing.

It’s not a long film, but it does still feel padded in places. The ending is either superb or awful, depending in your viewpoint as well. I liked it, but one discerning (and loud) voice declared it “a load of shite” as the credits rolled at the end.

Certainly something different.

Takers

“We’re takers, gents. That’s what we do for a living. We take.”

Plot-in-a-nutshell: a gang of robbers push to do one huge job at the behest of a comrade who’s just got out of jail.

What at first looks like a heist movie turns out to be a pretty taught character-driven thriller with quite a few twists and some good back-story. The closest recent film is The Town, but on balance I think I preferred Takers.

As well as a great cast, there are some excellent set pieces including a wonderful near-final shoot out sequence where sound (or lack of it) has been put to excellent use. The central “job” is also very well done.

The sidelines leading off the central plot are perhaps a little fluffy (a detective’s family issues, gang member’s crackhead sister and so on) but they add depth to the characters without detracting too much from the story. They’re also woven into the plot so that they effect events without seeming like hugely improbable coincidences.

A lot of people might not like the fact that Paul Walker is in the film judging by comments I’ve seen about him since the Fast and Furious films. However, he’s more than acceptable in this. Matt Dillon is on the opposite side of the story playing one half of a detective duo (Jay Hernandez plays the other half). Even the cops aren’t all clean, however…

There’s enough meat on this film to fill a mini-series, yet it doesn’t seem to be too much to take in the running length. Definitely worth seeing.

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