The success of one-man shows like Buried or Moon depend almost entirely on the acting prowess of the leading man. Although both films were expertly shot and edited, it’s the presence of Ryan Reynolds and Sam Rockwell (respectively) that pushed them into the annals of cult greatness. In Wrecked, star Adrien Brody plays a man who wakes up in a mangled car, in the middle of the woods, with his leg trapped under the crushed dashboard. In a raw, bruised performance, he certainly proves he’s got the chops to shoulder a one-man, limited-scope indie flick.
When he first regains consciousness––his face banged all to shit, his eyelid swollen to the size of a super-ripe grape––Brody wears his confusion like a plaintive mask. He’s in the passenger seat of a totaled sedan, there’s a male corpse in the back seat, and it’s completely obvious that Brody has no idea where he is or how he got there. His amnesia is conveyed with a minimum of dialogue (Brody only says a handful of words during the first 30 minutes of Wrecked), which is a credit to both Brody’s performance and the gaunt script by screenwriter Christopher Dodd. Brody eventually manages to free his broke-ass leg from the wreckage, but after discovering a half-spent revolver under the car seat and hearing a local news report on the car radio, he’s not so sure he wants to be rescued.
Eating bugs and drinking captured rain water, Brody’s crippled forest survival becomes the focus of Wrecked, essentially ignoring the audience’s desire to find out how and why he got into that stupid car in the first place. And that’s the primary problem with the film: the story is too skeletal to carry any real weight. It’s obvious that Brody was involved in some bad shit, but the film is far too deliberate in doling out its secrets. A plot that can be summarized in one sentence takes the movie a full 90 minutes to reveal. As a result, Wrecked loses its shine the longer you watch it. There are only so many scenes of Brody elbow-crawling through pine needles that a man can take before the magic starts to wear off.
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