Danny Boyle's '127 Hours' opened this past weekend to excellent response. It performed fairly well at the box office, and the reviews were ecstatic. (It has a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, and IMDb voters have settled on a rating of 8.3 out of 10.) But hardly anywhere have I seen the obvious comparison to Rodrigo Cortés' 'Buried', which opened in September. 'Buried' has reached the $1 million mark, but has probably run out of momentum by now. I like both movies, and I'd be happy to see a showdown between Ryan Reynolds and James Franco for acting honors this year. However, I think 'Buried' is the greater accomplishment, but that '127 Hours' will enjoy greater buzz and attention.
Why is this? Each movie is a very tough sell. They're both claustrophobic, intense stories that put viewers through a serious endurance test. (Some audience members have reportedly passed out at screenings of '127 Hours'.) They're both one-man shows that require a single actor to play the majority of the film by himself. And they both play upon the most basic of human fears. There are major differences, of course, but the key difference is that '127 Hours' is an "A" movie and 'Buried' is a "B" movie, which means that the former is obliged to play by certain rules and the later is free to try anything.