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FrightFest 2010: Buried review

So A Serbian Film got pulled...

It's been the hot topic of the festival since the intial announcement on Thursday that it was going to be removed from the programme at the last minute - a mix of intrigue, disappointment and outrage that festival's annual' talking point movie' (see Martrys , Human Centipede etc..) was gone.

In short the BBFC requested 49 cuts (3 mins 48 seconds) despite the fact that it's been shown at festivals across the world, the only other country vitoing a screening being Turkey.

Due to the cuts, festival organiser Alan Jones explained in an impassioned intro, neither FrightFest nor Revolver wanted to show a heavily censored version of a film they believe in and they feel and their audience would appreciate.

Here's Revolver's official line:

"We remain committed to releasing the closest possible version of the film to the director's original cut.

"The company recognises that the film is an uncompromising, artistic and political statement from a unique filmmaking vision and remains fully supportive to the director.

"Revolver believes this is a film that needs to be seen by both a theatrical and home entertainment UK audience"

Still, despite disappointment, the theatre was full, with Alan's address and the announcement that the replacement film would be Sundance favourite Buried earning a round of applause.

Frightfesters would put A Serbian Film behind them for the time being and watch with open minds...

Credits.

Pitch black.

Breathing, slow, faster. Gasp. Cough. Thump. Thump Thump. Thump Thump Thump Thump Thump Thump. Flick. Flick, flick.

Lighter. Ryan Reynolds in a box.

Rodrigo Cortes' itchy concept movie is a tough sell - bloke in a box for 90 minutes. Yet the ingenious script and inventive cinematography means this is engaging, absolutely enthralling from the first.

A twisty slow-reveal thriller, with Reynolds as a US trucker kidnapped in Iraq to find himself buried alive with a mobile phone (yeah there's reception, go with it) and the contents of his pockets.

Stifflingly claustrophiobic, emotionally stressful and rather depressing at times, but smothered a little by the weight of a political agenda it doesn't quite have the strength to carry, Buried is a fine addition to the Open Water school of survival horror - a tense, intense ordeal of puzzle solving that constantly asks 'What would you do?'and occasionally 'How would you feel?' - a question it's hard to approach without wanting to call your mother and hug your best friend.

And while there are moments that don't ring true (phone call from employer, 'trouser intruder' bit) Reynold's decisions aren't maddening either.

Reynolds is scorchio in Hollywood right now with The Green Lantern on the way and Deadpool and RIPD in development and here he's made a very brave choice to star in a film where he's lying confined, prone, in every single shot with the camera frequently pointed up his nose.

He rises to the challenge although you can't help but wonder the emotional battering the film would have delivered if Ryan Gosling had been in that box instead.

Buried thinks outside and inside the box. It's not A Serbian Film , but it captured the FF audience amply. 

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