DVD Review: Wrecked

How a man copes with being alone, stuck in a small area, is something that’s been explored fairly deeply in the last two years of cinema. 127 Hours propelled James Franco to an Oscar nomination and Ryan Reynolds got critical acclaim with Buried. Lost in the shuffle was a better actor than those two, Oscar winner Adrien Brody, with his own “man trapped” film in Wrecked. Picked up by the Independent Film Channel and dying quickly in theatres, barely grossing $5,000, it’s been given a quick release to DVD because of Brody’s profile.

Brody plays an unnamed man who wakes up not knowing who he is and injured. He’s been in a car crash, his car in a deep ditch with some serious injuries, and there’s an unidentified corpse in the backseat. The film follows him as he spends a couple days trying to figure out who he is, what he’s done and how he wound up there. But frankly we can’t care about any of it. Why?

Because there’s no reason to care about whether or not Adrien Brody is going to figure it all out.

The danger in establishing a character that’s a blank slate is that it requires a lot out of an actor to make the audience care more about you than merely get victim sympathy. We see “the man” battered and bloodied, and struggle because he’s badly hurt and stuck in a wrecked car, but there are no other character traits beyond this about him. We’re supposed to feel bad and want to figure it out but there’s no compelling reason beyond it. It might as well have been Brody playing himself because that’s essentially what he’s doing here. And it commits a criminal sin with a film like this: it gets boring.

There’s only so much of this you can watch before it gets dull and repetitive. There’s nothing to keep it engaging, despite Brody bringing out a fairly decent performance given the material. He just doesn’t have much to work with as the camera doesn’t change and no story is really told.

If you’re looking for engaging material about a man dealing with his own mortality in a tight place, rent 127 Hours or Buried. Avoid Wrecked at all costs.

The film is presented in a Dolby Digital surround with a widescreen presentation. It’s a competent transfer as it’s clean and crisp but doesn’t do (or need to do) anything special.

Not much is included in terms of extras.

The Making of Wrecked is a standard making of piece. A Day In the Life of George is a quick feature on the film’s dead body prop. Flight of the Chevy gives us a look at how they set up the film’s car crash, the only setting. A Woman’s Perspective is a quick piece on the film’s lone female character. The film’s Theatrical Trailer is included as well.

If you want a low budget version of 127 Hours or Buried, this is your film. Otherwise pick one of those two films up instead.

IFC presents Wrecked . Directed by Michael Greenspan. Starring Adrien Brody, Caroline Dhavernas, Ryan Robbins, Adrian Holmes, Jacob Blair. Written by Christopher Dodd. Running time: 89 minutes. Rated R. Released on DVD: August 30, 2011. Available at Amazon.com.