My favorite movie from Sundance this year just released a teaser trailer.
Simply put, this movie is a brilliant concept for a film, a script that is even better in the execution than it was in the concept, and really well-directed and acted to boot.
Granted, you may think the depths of the idea of somebody being buried alive got well and truly plumbed in Kill Bill Vol. 2, but there are some really great ideas in this movie. Given that one of the weapons at the main character Paul Conroy’s disposal is a cell phone, you get all the expected notes that one should expect: commentary on consumer culture, the lack of reasonable customer service on the telephone, and general jaded nature of the American population at large. What surprised me were the moments that came out of left field. For one, I appreciate the restraint it must have taken to not open this story up, showing the people that the protagonist is talking to on the phone. I can only imagine that was a note that producers gave over and over. The point at which I was watching a chase scene taking place in a claustrophobic underground wooden box, I was all in and willing to go wherever this story was headed.
Although Chris Sparling’s script was clearly written to be shot on a shoestring, given the single on-screen character and location, the movie moves from feeling appropriately cramped and confined to a much more open, freewheeling film. Or, rather, as freewheeling as one can make a movie feel which stays in the same, small place. Kudos to Rodrigo Cortés for managing to stay out of the way of the brilliant material in the script and even inventing a few shots to add to his reel.
Ryan Reynolds is, for me, the consummate leading man. This point was hammered home watching him rise above the dreck and scatology of Van Wilder and turn the role into something worth watching. Being that he is the only onscreen actor, those skills are put to the test. He gets to stretch a bit here, playing a wide range of emotions. The movie is believable because we see the full scope of fear, remorse, and hope that Reynolds puts on display. While I can imagine this being a watchable movie with the involvement of a lesser talent, Reynolds’ work here takes the film from a mere engaging thriller to something more emotional. Green Lantern can’t come soon enough.
In the meantime, I highly recommend this one unless you are afraid of tight spaces.