Adrien Brody wakes up trapped in the passenger seat of car crashed in the forest. His leg is trapped under the dash. His face is beat up and his ears are bleeding. Worst of all, he doesn’t remember who he is, how he got in his current predicament and he definitely doesn’t know the dead guy in the back seat.
Thus is your introduction to Wrecked, the latest single person, single location feature on the heels of similar scenarios such as 127 Hours, Frozen and Buried. Unfortunately, this film doesn’t live up to those three as it goes in circles for much of its running time, though does lead up to an admittedly interesting conclusion.
The filmmaking here isn’t the problem as much as it is a story too small for a feature film, and ultimately gives off that “trying too hard” vibe. First time feature director Michael Greenspan and screenwriter Christopher Dodd set out to create a film where the lead character knows absolutely nothing and, unfortunately, there isn’t enough for him to learn. At least not enough to warrant a 91 minute feature.
Amidst his travails, Brody’s unnamed character experiences brief moments of random flashbacks, confused memories and periodic clues keeping his imagination racing. He’s also haunted by the vision of a woman he can’t seem to place. Who is she? Does he know her? Does she know him? Could she have played a part in the situation he finds himself in? While it’s easy to connect to his torment in the early going, as the film progresses it isn’t felt for the duration. Greenspan and Dodd go back to the same well far too often, which results in a loss of interest.
Wrecked would have undoubtedly worked better as one of the duo’s short films as there are just enough bits to make up what would most likely be a riveting 30-35 minute short rather than watching Brody retrace his steps in the wilderness for an hour and a half.
Brody does, however, give a solid performance, despite having very little to work with. As he trudges through the muddy forest bed, floats down a raging river and hides in a cave alongside a stray dog that may or may not be real, Brody gives this film his all, which is respectable and, at the very least, keeps you watching. But his performance is another clue the film runs too long as even he can be seen searching for ways to reinvent his anguish.
Wrecked, ultimately, is a victim of its own limitations. Greenspan and Dodd hoped tension and mystery would stem from the fact their lead character doesn’t know who he is or how he came to be in this grisly situation. However, once they’ve established his confusion there isn’t enough left to grasp onto and sustain the film’s length. I wish this wasn’t the case because I really liked where the story ended up.