Ever since Ryan Reynolds flexed his muscles while chopping wood in 2005’s Amityville Horror remake his Hollywood profile has exploded – but he’s also wanted to prove he’s more than a hunky slice of prime beefcake. A handful of comic book adventures and lame comedy dramas later, he got his chance in last year’s box-office hit Buried.

In this suspense thriller, Reynolds plays Paul Conroy, a truck driver based in Iraq who wakes up to find himself trapped underground in a wooden box. At first, Paul has no idea of how he got there, but he soon starts to remember – helped by the mobile phone that his unseen kidnapper has left for him to find.

While frantically trying to call his family and the FBI, Paul’s kidnapper contacts him demanding a ransom of $5million for his release. Paul then becomes increasingly frustrated dealing with a State Department special task force trying to secure his release, before really getting into a panic when the battery in his phone and his air supply starts running out…

Reynolds certainly shows off his acting chops in the intentionally claustrophobic one-hander. And while I was glued to the screen, I found the character of Paul to be deeply unsympathetic – his attitude to his wife was questionable, as was his reasoning for being in Iraq in the first place.

Buried is tense and incredibly gripping, and you do get a real sense of panic watching Paul squirm, thanks to director Rodrigo Cortés‘ inventive set-ups. But I really didn’t care if the character lived or died. Still, it did give me and my movie buddies a lot to discuss and argue over – like, why is the phone signal better underground in the deserts of Iraq than in the upstairs bedroom of my house in London?

Reynolds’ next outing sees him return to more familiar ‘rippling muscle’ territory – he’s slipping into the skin-tight suit of the comic-book hero Green Lantern.

Released on Blu-ray and DVD on 14 February

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