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Bob Doto [Celluloid 03.09.11] Canada movie review thriller

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

[Editor's note: Marina reviewed Wrecked at Whistler FF and had a similar reaction.]

Shot on a minimal budget for a continuous eighteen-day stretch, Michael Greenspan's WRECKED is a tight little number snuggled inside a cozy car wreck with a rotting corpse in the back seat. It's OPEN WATER with a lot more putrefaction, less sharks, and more crazytalkdon'tf-withmewho'sthere stuff. Think: "Is what I'm seeing actually happening," and you're close. Wonder: "Will he ever get out of that damn car?!" and you're approaching the gate. Add lots of rain, a floundering worm, a maimed ant, a mountain lion, and an actorial delivery by Adrian Brody as "The Man" who makes you feel cold, wet, itchy, and exhausted and you're standing at the door.

The film beings like life: in the unknown. Colors blip while muffled sounds slowly begin to flutter. Are we underwater? Are we trapped in the bottom of a McDonald's ball pit? We know nothing until The Man let's us in, and he, we soon begin to realize, knows very little, the least of which being his own name.

Shot inside a wrecked car, from the driver's seat directly next to The Man, the first third of the film is about as hemmed in as it could be. One can't help but feel slightly claustrophobic. We're shown only what our buckled-in peripherals will allow, where we know only as much as The Man knows, sometimes less. What we can gather right away, however, is that the situation is bad, and while it's not necessarily getting any worse, the idea that the situation may get better is hard to imagine.

Believing in Adrian Brody's portrayal of The Man, however, is the easy part. He's painfully believable. For much of the film I had a hard time watching his face, which is all sorts of banged up. Feeling as though I was forced to watch some found grizzly Youtube footage, there were times I wondered whether or not Brody had actually broken his nose for the film. This wouldn't be surprising, as Brody is known to be a considerably committed actor. For this film alone Brody jumped into frigid Canadian rapids, ate insects, and slept alone out in the February cold to prep for the role. Most of these stunts he suggested himself. Clearly, Brody is in it to win it in WRECKED, and his commitment to the role definitely comes across. So much so, every time The Man moved, his legs pinned under the dashboard from the accident, I feared I was going to hear another bone snap. It was excruciating, and, of course, exhilarating.

For me, this exhilaration, this excitement, translated as purely physical, an experience that I believe allows the film to works as well as it does. While yes, the film is the story of a man with a plan, it's most notably the story of a body with a broken limb. In WRECKED, the human is treated as almost nothing more than a vehicle, a vessel that carries the heart to its next goal. Here, it is the body that takes center stage, while the spirit remains only a spark keeping the fire just this side of frigid.

The pace of the film is classic slow burner. Who The Man is unfolds delicately, scrap of paper by fleeting memory. Had this continued, I'd say the film was a borderline masterpiece. However, the film dips slightly toward the end when information about The Man's past is dished out by the shovel-full. It's an unfortunate turn that ultimately takes away from the film's reserved steady strengths built up slowly during the first two acts.

On the whole, the film is a win. See it, if only to see Adrian Brody using all his strengths.

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Kenji (11 years ago) Reply

"The film beings like life: in the unknown."

What could that possibly mean?

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