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Marina Antunes [Film Festival 12.06.10] Canada movie review news thriller

Year: 2010
Director: Michael Greenspan
Writer: Christopher Dodd
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Marina Antunes
Rating: 7.5 out of 10

It’s taken Michael Greenspan eight years to push out his first full length feature but with Wrecked wrapped and picked up by IFC, the world is one step closer to seeing the Canadian director’s feature film debut and reactions are likely to be as enthusiastic as that of the crowd which saw the film’s North American premiere at Whistler. Reuniting with frequent collaborator, writer Christopher Dodd, Wrecked is the newest addition to the recent rash of one man survival pictures.

Adrian Brody returns to the world of indie films for a turn as a man who wakes up after a car crash. He’s distressed and stuck, pinned under the dashboard and unable to move. In the back seat, a dead guy who looks like he’s been there for a while and a few feet from the car, the broken body of the driver. It soon becomes clear that Brody doesn’t know how he got there, who his companions are or how they ended up at the bottom of the cliff. As the story unwinds, Brody’s character, we’ll simply call him the man, eventually gets free and tries to find his way to rescue but the trip is long and arduous. Without food or water, he’s not only suffering against the elements (the wilderness complete with deadly animals) but also mental collapse. He’s hallucinating and broken and it doesn’t seem like he’ll ever find his way out but as he begins to put the story together, it quickly becomes clear that he’s probably better off forgetting what led to the accident.

Though much lower in budget than Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours and more commercially appealing than Rodrigo Cortés Buried, Greenspan’s film lands somewhere in the middle of the two other survival stories. It’s not nearly as bold as Cortés’ film but it manages to be much more engaging than Boyle’s which started to bore me partway through. The mystery of Greenspan’s film keeps the audience on edge for the entire running time and Brody is engaging in a role that requires him to be onscreen for nearly the film’s entire running time.

Greenspan squeezes his camera into the smallest crevices of the totalled car and the result is a feeling of claustrophobia even when the car has to windows and is in the middle of the forest. There seems to be no escaping it and when the man finally does make his way into the vastness of the trees and underbrush, that too seems constricting and impossible to escape. He’s constantly at odds with his surroundings and Greenspan does a fantastic job of not leading the audience or the character on. I love that it is never clear whether Brody’s character will survive the ordeal or die trying.

The most impressive part of Wrecked is Dodd’s script which unfolds in small, deliberate steps. We never know more than Brody’s character and in some instances, the first few scenes of the film are particularly interesting for this reason, we know even less than he does. It’s a fascinating exercise that Doss and Greenspan use to great effect.

Wrecked is an effective thriller, one that manages to play its cards close and never reveals more than absolutely necessary to keep the story moving along. It’s not often that a film manages to keep me guessing but Greenspan’s film did until nearly the final scene. Definitely one to look for in 2011.

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