'Wrecked'

A decent thriller with more ancillary than theatrical potential.

Adrien Brody once again proves he’s got enough onscreen appeal to carry a decent thriller with more ancillary than theatrical potential in “Wrecked.” Pic at times feels like an illustrated Boy Scout manual: “You’re in the woods with a broken leg and all you’ve got is a flashlight, two matches and a gun. What do you do?” Add amnesia, a couple of dead bodies and hallucinations of a vengeful woman, and that sums up Michael Greenspan’s solid but unexceptional debut, ably carried by Brody’s one-hander perf. Critical and online buzz will be necessary to avoid the direct-to-video section.

A guy (Brody) comes to in a wrecked car in the middle of the woods. There’s a dead body in the backseat, another several yards outside the vehicle and not a trace of human habitation. He’s banged up pretty bad and can’t move out of his seat, let alone open the door, which is jammed shut. The radio barely works, and to top it all off, he’s got amnesia, nicely conveyed when he scratches into the dashboard “Hello my name is,” followed by a blank. A debit card he finds makes him think his name might be Raymond, but he can’t figure out why there’s a gun on the floor.

Thirty minutes in, he manages to pry the door open with the broken-off gearshift. That’s when he hears a crackly news report saying that three men, including Raymond, are wanted for the double murder of a woman and a security guard. Finding a bag of cash in the trunk, he puts two and two together as he tries to cope with the idea that he’s probably a nasty criminal on the run. Hallucinations of a woman (Caroline Dhavernas, “Passchendaele”) become more disturbing as he imagines she’s the victim of his gang’s attack.

Comparisons will inevitably be made with such recent pics as “Buried” and “Essential Killing,” though “Wrecked” is far less claustrophobic than the former and considerably more modest than the latter. As is to be expected, a few details are scripted for artificially induced gasps of surprise and don’t quite add up. Still, for the most part, Greenspan and scripter Christopher Dodd build a pleasantly diverting level of tension, stirring in just the right number of clues to throw auds and the character into a state of uncertainty, the guessing game continuing through most of the modest running time.

Notwithstanding unflattering angles and various cuts and bruises, Brody reps an appealing figure, believably swinging from bewilderment to desperation while still remaining, despite the memory loss, a likable personality with the right degree of levity in the face of anxiety.

Widescreen lensing is attractive (“Wrecked” was shot in the damp sylvan glory of British Columbia over 18 days), utilizing the broad format to heighten Brody’s sense of solitude. Editing keeps things moving at the right clip, and music is judiciously used.

Wrecked

Canada

Production

An Alliance Films release of an Independent Edge Prods. production, in association with Telefilm Canada, Three-Seven Entertainment. (International sales: eOne Entertainment, Toronto.) Produced by Kyle Mann. Co-producers, Jason Stone, Andrew Mann. Directed by Michael Greenspan. Screenplay, Christopher Dodd.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), James Liston; editor, Wiebke von Carolsfeld; music, Michael Brook; production designer, Michael Norman Wong; costume designer, Andrea Desroches; sound (Dolby Digital), Bill Sheppard, John Boyle, James Wallace; line producer, Michele Futerman; associate producers, Bill Terezakis, Robert Crippen; assistant director, Crippen; casting, Kerry Rock. Reviewed at Abu Dhabi Film Festival (New Horizons), Oct. 16, 2010. Running time: 89 MIN.

With

Adrien Brody, Caroline Dhavernas, Ryan Robbins, Adrian Holmes, Jacob Blair.

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