What I've always admired about Adrien Brody is his project-choosing process. He takes on big studio flicks like King Kong and Predators from time to time, but for the most part he's a maverick, sticking to independent or avant-garde fare in which he's able to express himself with artistic integrity through unorthodox narratives. Such is the case in Wrecked, his new film that sounds like Danny Boyle's 127 Hours on paper but is far more disconcerting than that true tale of survival.
The story begins at the bottom of a featureless ravine inside a broken-down car that's apparently been run off the road. In the passenger seat is an unnamed Man (Brody) who is trapped in shotgun while the body of a stranger rots in the backseat. Adding to this disturbing scenario is memory loss - the Man can't recall how he got there or who he is. As dehydration, starvation and exhaustion set in, the line between reality and delusion blurs and the audience goes on a strange trip of rediscovery with the enigmatic prisoner.
While the linchpin in Boyle's film is James Franco's performance, Wrecked relies more on the atmospheric direction of Michael Greenspan, who makes his feature debut with this surreal picture. That's not to say that Brody doesn't deliver an unnerving portrayal of a man in a grave situation. As he moans and writhes in and out of his seat you can't help sympathizing with him, though screenwriter Christopher Dodd concocts a backstory that removes whatever remorse you had for him at times while piquing your curiosity at others. He heightens the anxiety of the unknown with a spooky score, longer-than-average shots and a few bizarre situations. The natural environments and minimalist screenplay aid the filmmaker in creating his eerie tone despite the picturesque setting, which would be calming if not for some perplexing hallucinations related to the Man's past predicament.
Unfortunately, the bare bones script is also the biggest problem with Wrecked as the film, like its protagonist, doesn't really go anywhere. The revelations come far too quickly, resulting in a boring, anti-climactic effect. Even though there's some distressing fun to be had while getting to the finish line, it's a sterilized psychological thriller that brings to mind films like Brad Anderson's The Machinist but fails to achieve that level of ambiguous magnetism.
Hollywood.com rated this film 2 1/2 stars.