Friday, April 1, 2011

In Michael Greenspan's thriller WRECKED, Adrien Brody gets delirium -- and a dog

Actors have long been cautioned to avoid working with children and dogs, but Adrien Brody, brave guy that he is, is having none of it. Or half of none of it, at least. In WRECKED, the first- full-length film from Canadian Michael Greenspan (below) and his frequent collaborator (on short films and now this one) Christopher Dodd, while there are no children to be seen, boy-oh-boy, there is one terrific canine. As good as is Mr Brody (and he's quite good), that dog's a scene stealer every time.

Wrecked is one of a breed of film that must be reasonably cheap to produce. It has only one major role, so if you can get an actor as attuned to making the moment real (that's Brody!) and who possesses an endlessly interesting face that the camera enjoys as much as we do, then half your work is already done. Here, after an opening filled with strange, out-of-focus images, we finally come to rest on our star. And he's not looking good. There's been a car crash -- a bad one -- that has left several dead and our hero (?) barely alive.

Because Brody has no one to talk to, there's damn little dialog in the movie, and that is all to the good. Once we get through the pain and screams of this fellow trying to undo himself from the wreck, we and he can concentrate of figuring out who the hell he is. Memory's been blotted out, it seems, but small and large clues abound, and with a car radio that works fitfully, we learn some details. They're not pretty. Like the gun under the seat. And what's all that money doing in the trunk?

Thinking about the film after the fact, you can spot some possible holes. While it's underway, however, even though it is fairly slow-moving, it holds you nicely. Hallucinations happen, and we're not always sure what's real. There's a woman, a nasty mountain lion, an interloper and that dog.

By the time the movie ends (at 90 minutes, including credits), we've been put through one hell of an ordeal and come out the other side. The film is small and breaks little new ground, but it's an accomplishment nonetheless.

Wrecked, from IFC Films, opens today in New York at the IFC Center, after playing VOD for the past month. Look for it to open in Los Angeles on Friday, April 8, at Laemmle's Sunset Five.

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