Adrien Brody is lost and alone in the woods, as director Greenspan channels Hitchcock in this little indie from Canada.
A man awakes in the aftermath of a devastating car crash. Injured, alone and missing his memory, his only company a corpse in the backseat.
After several days of starvation, thirst and hallucinations of a woman rescuer, the man frees himself. Hearing a broadcast on the radio about a bank robbery in which several people were killed and the discovery of a bag of money in the trunk of the car, the man becomes suspicious of his identity.
Alone in the wilderness, he struggles to come to terms with himself, while at the same time trying to reach civilisation…
Adrien Brody’s career trajectory so far has been somewhat unpredictable. He was a onetime grandstanding awards magnet in The Pianist, flirted with being an indie darling in films like Summer Of Sam, Brothers Bloom, Splice and The Darjeeling Limited, and even tried his hand at being an all action leading man with King Kong and Predators. In Michael Greenspan’s little curio, he flexes his acting chops yet again with this ‘lone man lost in the wilderness’ role. It’s a dicey proposition to rest an entire film on the shoulders of one actor, but Brody is a confident actor and, much like James Franco in 2010’s other notable lost and alone pic, 127 Hours, he carries the weight with aplomb.
To give away much about Wrecked’s story would be to take some of the power away from writer Christopher Dodd’s puzzle like plotting. Giving the viewer no clue as to the outcome and making our only point of reference an injured amnesiac drifting in and out of deep shock, it’s all very Hitchcockian, with its simple premise and unreliable protagonist. The film’s first act is all about guesswork, with little plot progression beyond the scattered clues found by the man. Once out of the car, the film becomes a wilderness survival cum whodunit (or, more appropriately, did he do it?). It’s sometimes confusing, and threatens tedium at several points, but the central performance keeps you engaged.
Brody’s nameless lead is silent for most of the film’s 90 minute running time, full of quiet desperation and fear, with no emotional outlet other than battling his own hallucinations. The King Kong star plays it well, making the character sympathetic, even after it’s revealed that the man may have been part of something sinister prior to the crash.
Brody doesn’t have much to play off either, as he’s alone with two corpses, a stray dog and an imaginary woman that shows up occasionally to cast doubt on the man’s situation. It’s a testament to the script that it doesn’t resort to trite plot mechanics (there is almost a point where the man seems on the brink of befriending his dead passenger), instead choosing to power forward towards a satisfying and tricksy reveal that shows the film for what it is – a study of a fractured and traumatized mind.
The film’s other star is the rich forests of Vancouver and British Columbia.
The film’s other star is the rich forests of Vancouver and British Columbia. Greenspan pits nature against his leading man in much the same way Herzog plagued Kinski and Bale in Peru and Thailand – Brody struggles with the savage environment as he struggles with his own mind. The heartwarming moments that serve to break up the misery, like the man playing with what may or may not be a mental projection of his childhood dog, are abruptly followed by Mother Nature tipping the scales and washing the man down the river. It’s a satisfying man versus nature structure that livens up Brody’s soul searching -the forest is his prison, and half the time, we are wondering whether he will, or even should, break out.
There are some unnecessary plot strands that slow the otherwise steady pace, like the disgruntled cougar that plagues Brody throughout the film (the sequence in which he stumbles upon its lair is a little absurd), but Dodd keeps his script simple for the most part – it’s just Brody, trees and lots of inner turmoil.
The Blu-ray transfer is perfect for depicting the savage beauty of the forest that is Brody’s prison for the duration of Wrecked; the high-definition sheen captures the beauty of the locales and the anguish on the man’s broken face. The film’s minimalist score accentuates James Wallace’s sound design (which, like the setting, is a character itself), and Blu-ray captures every aural nuance.
A simple structure with a not so simple premise, Brody’s forgetful protagonist is thoroughly engaging and the script is solid enough to keep things interesting despite the films austere nature.
Film: Amer Year of production: 2009 UK Release date:
31st January 2011 Distributor: Anchor Bay Certifica…
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Adrien Brody is lost and alone in the woods, as
director Greenspan channels Hitchcock in this little…