movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

PEOPLE: Starring Ryan Reynolds. He is, pretty much, the only face you will see the entire movie.

PLOT SUMMARY: Contractor in Iraq wakes up buried in a coffin with a phone and tries to use it to not die.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Adulterer suffocates.

VISUALS/GOOD STUFF: Though not visually rich, the style of this movie is very striking and unique. The entire movie takes place in a coffin. You really don’t get out of the coffin, ever. It’s the most claustrophobic movie I’ve ever seen. And that’s the gimmick that makes it worth seeing…

SOUNDTRACK/BAD STUFF: Worst sound mix ever. I’m pretty sure it’s intentional, but they have the music build up to such a point that you can’t even hear what Ryan Reynolds is saying. Again, I’m pretty sure it’s intentional. But it simply didn’t work. It instead had me adjusting the volume of my center speaker, and cycling my Onkyo receiver through different modes, wondering what the fuck was wrong. Since it was DTS sound, I really don’t think it was an accident. It was purposefully mixed so bad as to cause people to flounder for their remotes. That is a failure. UPDATE: Tried watching the end again downgrading sound to stereo. Much easier to hear. Could actually understand the ending this time. Don’t generally have this problem with other movies. Kicking myself for not thinking of this while messing around with our receiver.

Carolyn adds, “I feel like I missed something because of the music overpowering the dialogue at parts… I had no idea what was going on at some parts. The overpowering music did add to the tension and i can understand if they were doing it intentionally, but it seemed to be too much and it made it so I didn’t seem to grasp major plot points…”

The ending wasn’t clear either. Part of this was the sound mix. Why did he [highlight for spoilers] cut off his finger? We have no idea (except for what the IMDB forums say). We couldn’t hear much of anything said once [highlight for spoilers] the sand started filling the coffin. I finally got, thanks to reading the IMDB plot summary, that [highlight for spoilers] insurgents led the authorities to Mark White {the wrong guy} instead of Ryan Reynolds. This was not at all clear to us. It’s really poor filmmaking if I have to read the IMDB summary to get the ending

Also [VERY MINOR SPOILER], the snake was kind of ridiculous. As was him burning his oxygen half the movie with a zippo lighter. Utterly ridiculous.

MORALS: Go to work in a war zone and you just might get your ass killed.

POLITICS: We should get the fuck out of Iraq. Let them rebuild their own country.

CONCLUSION: Worth watching for the “whole movie in a coffin” gimmick, but otherwise only a passable thriller. The sound mix is so awful as to make it so you can’t even hear the dialog during parts — even with a fancy DTS receiver and the ability to control the center [dialog] speaker independently. Throw in some unnecessarily ridiculous plot elements, and we have a movie that I would not like if not for the claustrophobic uniqueness. This is a mixed failure/success: It succeeds in its gimmick (which is roughly equal to a 1/10 rating increase), but fails on technical merit (which is roughly equal to a 1/10 rating decrease) and for a few ridiculous plot elements (also equal to a 1/10 rating decrease).

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 6/10. Would have rated it a 7, and was caught up in the excitement, but upon further review this simply failed in too many ways.
Carolyn: Netflix: 2.6/5 stars. IMDB: 5.6/10. Lowest possible passing grade.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 7.3/10, Netflix: 2.9/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.9/5 stars–WRONG! We are about in line with the average rating here, for once.).

RECOMMENDATION: Watch 127 Hours instead.

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Ian B reviewed it here.Music: NoMeansNo – The Hawk Killed The Punk