No movie springs from a vacuum. There are always influences from past examples of the genre, from the previous work of the filmmakers and stars, even from similar films that don’t quite work. If you want to understand where a movie is coming from, take a look at where it’s coming from.
In Buried, Ryan Reynolds’ contractor in Iraq wakes up in a coffin with nothing but a Zippo and a cell phone for company, and learns that his captors want a ridiculous ransom to release him. This flick sprang from (among other films):
• The Vanishing (1988) — the French/Dutch original, not the pallid American remake — about a man who searches for years for his missing girlfriend; the film reveals much, at the same time, about the man who kidnapped her, and why he subjected her to an ordeal not unsimilar to that of Buried.
• Phone Booth (2002), for another flick about being trapped… without all the claustrophobia; here, Colin Farrell must not hang up with communications device in the titular enclosure, lest he be shot by the man tormenting him.
• Cellular (2004), in which Kim Basinger’s kidnap victim doesn’t know where she is but is able to talk to Chris Evans, and solicit his help, via the remains of a mobile phone.
• The Nines (2007), for more of Ryan Reynolds in indie mode, playing three different roles in what could be considered alternate universes; there’s a bit with a cell phone, too.
Where to buy:
Cellular [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
The Nines [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Phone Booth [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
The Vanishing [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]