Published Mar 24, 2011When making a single-setting, single-character film like Wrecked, wherein Adrien Brody awakes from a car accident with amnesia, trapped in his seat by a mangled dashboard in the woods with no help in sight, there are a number of narrative and technical obstacles to overcome in order to maintain trajectory vitality and audience investment.
In 127 Hours, Danny Boyle injected a kaleidoscope of visual aids and editing techniques, shooting the environment from every angle and perspective while relying on the soundtrack and stylized inserts to distract the viewer from undue mental wandering and resultant disengagement. While Jerzy Skolimowski takes a decidedly more psychological and sociological approach to this format with Essential Killing, adding the weight of human instinct and global politics to a deceptively simple tale of survival.
First time director Michael Greenspan takes neither road with this Canadian survival thriller, eschewing organic conflict, aesthetic trickery and weighty subtext in favour of standard observations, save some on-screen delusions with the motivationally ambiguous Caroline Dhavernas, who occasionally shows up to hint at a bigger story that never happens.
Initially, there is intrigue to the premise, with Brody relying on rainwater for survival and waxing boy scout with the few tools in arm's reach, trying to get out of the car and deal with an injured leg. But since we're left without conversation, characterization and environmental variation, the instinct is to scan the background for flaws or clues, anticipating likely outcomes, ultimately disengaging from the singular central plight and the film.
There are some humdrum attempts to inject urgency and mystery, such as a man-eating cougar and the possibility that Brody is a bank robber on the run, but it comes off as clichéd filler in an underwhelming and exceedingly modest story, which itself, says very little.
Fortunately, our leading man devotes himself physically and mentally to his empty shell of a character and the actual production is competent, if frayed around the edges, due to editing issues likely spawned from a lack of coverage. (Alliance)