A man awakens in a mangled car-wreck at the bottom of a steep cliff. Injured and trapped inside, with no memory of how he got there or who he is, he must rely on his most primal instincts to survive. But as he attempts to free himself from the carnage and escape an impossible situation, a darker side is revealed. Even if he manages to survive, the man may have to face the horrible consequences of an earlier, forgotten life.
Adrian Brody’s fall from grace has not been pretty. His recent work – most of which happens to be in the genre – has received a bad wrap, and frankly, it’s not fair. Sure, the Oscar winner’s output isn’t exactly consistent, but it’s sad to see a talented actor go from the A-list to the straight-to-video market so quickly and without good reason.
It’s certainly not an indication of quality. Predators was enjoyed by most fans of the original but underperformed at the box office. Splice was an interesting flick but went largely unnoticed. Giallo sat on a shelf for over a year before going to DVD and facing legal problems. The Experiment, a decent American take on a fascinating German film, went straight to DVD.
With all of that in mind, I went into Michael Greenspan’s Wrecked, the latest Brody starrer being unceremoniously dumped on DVD, optimistically. The film opens sometime after a horrific car accident. As Brody’s character, credited only as Man, comes to, he is bloody, weak and, worst of all, his leg is trapped in the wreckage.
Unable to move and with no one around to hear his cries for help, there seems to be little hope for the man. The mystery begins to unravel upon the revelation that there is the body of a man in the back seat and another that has been ejected from the car. The man has no recollection of the identities of the corpses nor his own name; the accident caused him to suffer from amnesia.
The claustrophobic first act’s cryptic tone was reminiscent of the recent Buried and proved to be interesting enough, but after about a half hour of watching the man struggle in strife, he finally frees himself from the remnants of the car. This is when things begin to go downhill. Armed with a pistol, he crafts a makeshift split for his broken leg and crawls aimlessly through the woods – although some of his maneuvers would not be possible with his leg in its supposed condition.
The helpless man encounters a number of elements in the woods that he must handle, including wild animals, hikers and a trunk full of money. The most concerning of them, perhaps, are his hallucinations about a woman (Caroline Dhavernas) with questionable intentions. He also sees brief flashes of how he ended up in this unfortunate position. Naturally, it’s not until the end that the full story is revealed, which proves to be not worth the wait.
While the harrowing situation makes the story immediately engaging, there are only so many conceivable scenarios that a man in this position could encounter, and they’re exhausted fairly quickly. Being that this is not based on a true story, Christopher Dodd’s script would have benefited from a few more twists and turns; something that puts the man in peril but remains grounded in reality to avoid taking the viewer out of the movie. Director Michael Greenspan does the best that he can with what he has, aided in no small part by the fine cinematography by James Liston.
Although there are a couple of other characters, Wrecked is essentially a one man show, and Brody shines. This may not be the role that puts him back in the spotlight, but it showcases his talents nicely. Unfortunately, the movie itself just isn’t all that interesting once the initial excitement wears off. It could have been a heart-wrenching story of defying the odds a la 127 Hours, but it never reaches that level of inspiration. Instead, it took the survival thriller route, an easier one at which to succeed, but it still fails to warrant the audience’s full attention.