Blu-Ray Review: ‘Wrecked’

"While the human struggle is palpably dramatic everything else the movie might call a “plot” does Brody’s work a disservice."

William Bibbianiby William Bibbiani

I think it’s safe to say that Adrien Brody deserves better material than Wrecked. It’s an incredible showcase for his acting abilities, but he doesn’t need one of those. He was brilliant in The Pianist and he has the richly deserved Oscar to prove it. Brody gives a truly exceptional performance here as a man trapped in wrecked automobile who crawls through the wilderness on a broken leg in search of assistance, but while the human struggle is palpably dramatic everything else the movie might call a “plot” does Brody’s work a disservice. It’s a neat idea for a movie but a poor execution.

I think it’s also safe to say that Wrecked also suffers by coming out after Danny Boyle’s excellent 127 Hours, which told a fairly similar story of one man trapped in the middle of nowhere, forced to extricate himself from an impossible situation in a hazardous terrain. Whereas Boyle’s film, which perhaps had the benefit of being based on a true story, boasted a fully-fledged character arc, opportunities for levity and an intriguing message about the ongoing fight against fatalism, first time feature director Michael Greenspan has much less to work with. Brody’s protagonist suffers from amnesia, which prevents Wrecked from presenting a compelling look at how this struggle affects him personally and expanding the film thematically. We don’t know where he came from, or what he has to go home to. When the film does make implications about the nature of his character, they are unsympathetic at best. 


It’s not difficult to care about Brody’s painful journey here, because Michael Greenspan (working from a screenplay by Christopher Dodd) does a fine job of conveying the physical hardships that befall his protagonist. Crawling through the underbrush, gulping water when he finds it as if it were a gift from heaven, these are moments and incidents that place the audience in Brody’s muddy shoes, or at least cause us to wonder how we’d fare in his situation. It’s just not enough to carry an entire feature film without a sense of the bigger picture. The hero’s amnesia leads to a dramatic reveal at the climax of the story, but it doesn’t actually pay off. The revelation is less a sigh of relief than a reminder that if we knew this information from the start, the rest of the movie would have been infinitely more involving. Perhaps having a twist made the script more marketable. Pity about what it did to the finished product.

Wrecked comes to Blu-Ray in a lush transfer that displays the detailed, harsh woodlands of the film with impressive clarity. The sound design does a fine job of conveying the atmosphere around Brody at all times, leading to a nicely immersive experience on both fronts. The Blu-Ray also offers a small assortment of featurettes but I would have traded them all in for a running commentary track from Brody and Greenspan that focused on the inner world of his character in a way the film couldn’t muster, but even that would have been too little, too late.

Wrecked is a disappointing film, but only because with a little more thought to the overarching story it could have been a rousing tale of survival instead of a willfully obtuse one. Brody, again, turns in an exceptional performance in a movie with its fair share of suspense and thrills, but he’s outmatched by an unfortunate screenplay that robs him of rooting interest. It’s a fine acting showcase, but not terribly much of a film.