PLOT: A man wakes up trapped in a wrecked car at the bottom of a ravine, with no memory of who he is or who he got there, and a rotting corpse in the back seat. As he works to free himself and then fight for survival in the wilderness, he learns little clues about his possible identity that make his situation even worse.
REVIEW: Some of the best movies I've ever seen have relied on one actor and a limited location, delivering a powerful and personal performance that I could watch again and again. Adrien Brody does that here, with great results. Not many actors can convincingly portray the combined effects of trauma, amnesia, exposure and looming dementia all at the same time, but he pulls it off in this tightly wrapped movie that for most of its running time is so bleak with hopelessness that you just want the poor bastard to off himself with the gun he found under the seat! Seriously, this guy is screwed from the first few seconds, and things only go downhill from there. His leg is broken and the bone is jutting from his thigh, he's seeing the phantom of a girl who he may or may not have killed, the trunk of the car if filled with black bags loaded with cash, he's only got a few bullets, and now there a freaking mountain lion stalking him (and conveniently dragging away any corpses near him, so, good kitty!). Combined with the isolated wooded ravine, this whole slow reveal involving the man and a bank robbery not only messed with my poor abused head, it made me invest sympathy and interest in the character, which was rewarded with a kick ass performance by Oscar winner Brody.
Clearly I missed the memo that Canadian movies were good again. Score one for the home team! Seriously, the set up here is like something out of the mind of Stephen King - A man with amnesia is trapped, broken and bleeding, in a car while a corpse rots in the back seat behind him. The idea give me the willies. But the transition into a wilderness survival drama, combined with the mystery as to who this poor dude is and what he's done, makes for a totally different movie than what is promised in the initial premise. It's kind of like Castaway, but more contained and immediate, as one man fights against nature and his own burgeoning madness to survive, even while not knowing who he is or if he even deserves redemption. And the revelation at the end makes his struggle and eventual survival all that much more meaningful.
The flick is gorgeously shot, especially if you've got a thing for trees, and director Michael Greenspan creates serious levels of tension and mystery with very little to draw on. The visuals are bleak, at times confining, and very entertaining to watch, which is good because there is very little dialogue for most of the film. The main guy is given very little to hope for, and the short tantalizing flashes of what happen before the crash only make it worse for him. As such, his world is very close and immediate, even showing the slow crawl of the forest floor as he drags himself through the trees. This makes the action, and the drama, very visceral and real, and it had me hooked. This is definitely one to watch, whether you're a fan of Brody or not. There's just something about these isolation thrillers that speaks to the audience, tapping into the scared little animal in everybody, and that makes for a very engaging and entertaining film by being original, simple and well made.
Chilling and well made, Wrecked is a tale of a determined guy who is seriously f*cked, wrapped up in hopelessness and mystery and no small amount of wilderness adventure. Adrien Brody carries the movie fine on his own, giving an excellent driven performance that dam well couldn't have been easy to pull off. And it's a Canadian flick, so double points from me! Check this one out, especially if you've got a jonesing on for well crafted simple tales that create tension and atmosphere, and seriously but subtly kick ass in terms of presentation and execution. This kind of survival flick is usually always good in my book, and here is no exception.