Reviewed by: Gabriel Mohler
IRAQ—What is the significance of Iraq in the Bible? Answer
|Featuring:||Ryan Reynolds (Paul Conroy), José Luis García Pérez (Jabir), Robert Paterson (Dan Brenner), Stephen Tobolowsky (Alan Davenport), Samantha Mathis (Linda Conroy), more »|
|Producer:||Versus Entertainment, The Safran Company, Dark Trick Films, Studio 37, more »|
“170,000 SQ miles of desert. 90 minutes of oxygen. No way out.”
If you check out this film, you better not have claustrophobia! In this survival thriller, Paul Conroy, played by Ryan Reynolds, is a truck driver who has been buried alive in a desert of Iraq. The entirety of this film takes place in the coffin, as he makes phone calls, tries to preserve air, and fights snakes, sand, and explosions.
This may be the most amazingly original film I’ve ever seen; however, the ending turned it into a tragically wasted opportunity, which I’ll get to in a minute.
The most morally offensive thing in this film is the language. There are about three dozen f-words; in one scene, Paul screams the f-word over and over. There are also s-words, misuses of God’s name and “Hell,” and a few other foul words.
Some mature elements are when Paul is falsely accused of an emotional affair with a colleague (which is not prominent) and, of course, the intense peril.
Just because there may not be anything morally offensive besides the language doesn’t mean it’s worth watching. Spoiler alert here, but you’ll thank me for it. Right at the end, Paul is apparently just about to be saved. His wife is thrilled; his rescuers are digging. Then his rescuers realize they came to the wrong place, and the movie ends as the coffin fills with sand.
So, in the end, the movie is deliberately depressing, when it could have had an inspiring message about triumph and helping others. This may not be morally offensive; however—similar to uncalled-for gore in movies—it obviously leaves a very negative effect. It is implied that another man in the same situation might have been saved instead of Paul, but the effect is nonetheless unnecessarily disturbing.
Some positive elements include a father making one last video of himself for his family, and blessing them, before his closely expected death. This is touching. Self-sacrifice is illustrated when Paul makes a video of himself cutting off his finger to save his family from terrorists (it’s not graphic; in fact, the camera cuts away as he’s actually doing it. You just see the severed finger briefly afterward).
When watching the movie, I naturally thought to myself, “What would I do if I was in this situation?” The first thing that comes to mind is, PRAY! Paul loses his temper many times because “luck” doesn’t seem to be favoring him and because the limited people he calls are his only hope. If God had been his ultimate hope, perhaps he would have been more peaceful (and perhaps the language wouldn’t be so crazy). The movie does deliver a positive message about perseverance, but this is drowned in the ending, which will make you so upset that you’ll forget about his inspiring perseverance which ended up being in vain.
If Christian principles were taught in this movie, even the tragic ending would leave a beneficial message. As it is, the film is one of the saddest, wasted opportunities I’ve ever come across.
You’ll be better off having not seen this movie.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Mild
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.