Wrecked Director: Michael Greenspan Starring: Adrien Brody, Caroline Dhavernas Running time: One hour, 35 minutes
In any year that didn't have 127 Hours in it, Adrien Brody's relentlessly harrowing, ludicrously-plotted one-man-show Wrecked might have had more impact.
As it is, it doesn't fare well by comparison.
Still, it's probably on every actor's bucket list to star in a movie like this, one where nearly every scene is a close-up. Wrecked is such a prolonged exercise in face acting, it probably still hurts Brody to laugh.
As the movie opens, Brody's nameless character wakes up in a crashed car, bloodied and injured. In the seat behind him is the corpse of a man he doesn't know. In fact, he doesn't know who he is himself (yes, this is one of those movies where blunt head trauma causes amnesia -- although in real life, if you've been hit that hard in the head, you've probably got worse problems than not remembering your name).
Luckily, Brody gets his first clue when he turns on the car radio just in time to hear about a manhunt for a gang of bankrobbers (yes, this is one of those movies where, if you randomly turn on a TV or radio, you will catch the part of a newscast that directly relates to you).
With no jaws-of-life handy, and too injured to crawl through a window, Brody spends the better part of two days (more than a half-hour of screen time) in the car, enduring noisy snippets of flashbacks and receiving hallucinatory visits from a woman (Caroline Dhavernas) he may or may not have killed in the course of robbing the bank.
Fortunately for the audience, Brody's character eventually does manage to work his way out of the car, creates a crude splint for his horribly fractured leg, and crawls out into the woods where a mountain lion awaits, as well as a friendly dog. Brody hallucinates (maybe) an intruder ransacking the car's trunk. When he investigates, he discovers a bagful of money, which he immediately uses as kindling to start a fire.
Watching Brody crawl through the woods and play with a dog is marginally more entertaining than watching him suffer in a smashed car. Still, one wonders why he didn't just follow the trail the crashed car would have left to the road. It would have made Wrecked a much shorter movie, but a more plausible one.
Flashbacks and hallucinations pile on each other. Canadian director Michael Greenspan is not out to do the audience any favours with the false construct Brody's character creates in his mind. The ending doesn't jibe with any of the clues that have been served up piecemeal through the movie. Unlike 127 Hours (last time I'll mention it, I promise), there is no character development, no deepening of our understanding of the protagonist or his dilemma. There's just suffering (which Brody ably supplies) and misapprehension. And the constant threat of being eaten by a mountain lion.
For all this, Wrecked is definitely in the running for one award: thinnest plot stretched to feature length.
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