For 30-minutes, Wrecked never leaves its car. The camera remains intent on sticking it out right next to a trapped Adrien Brody, determined to provide unrestrained claustrophobia. It does, generating sympathy for a character without an identity yet and pushing forward with its survival-based narrative.
Then something happens: Brody escapes. He’s free to wander a forest seeking any form of help, and the entire concept collapses. Brody is injured, his leg shattered after the glove compartment smashes onto it, resulting in a performance that is, literally, grounded.
He has visions, repeatedly conjuring a woman he may have killed in a bank heist, his credit union card identifying him as a robber from a radio report. It’s about all Wrecked will offer, the film struggling to remain relevant as it breaks free from more interesting confinement. It tries, and fails, to give Brody purpose as the camera winds back to reveal forested beauty for the umpteenth time.
The sense of danger wanders, the will to survive not enough of a push. Developing Brody as a character who slaughtered a bank teller in cold blood only serves to establish these events as a dark karmatic retribution.
A twist comes too late, the insects already devoured, water already scoured for, and the leg already wrapped. Regardless of whether or not he “wins” at this life thing or not, it feels drawn out. The forest becomes a character for its beauty, the art overtakes the most basic of narratives. Wrecked never capitalizes on its energy or its total disregard for opening credits. It sucks you in, but sooner or later, it spits you out. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Movie]
Visual flair strengthens Wrecked’s hi-def looks, a strict, all-consuming contrast immediately apparent. Despite frigid temperatures adding to Brody’s misery as he trots through the landscape, the sun is no less of a character. Strangely, the opposing side is a bit of a mess, the film opening on a gray screen that remains an indicator of what the black levels are attempting to be. They never catch on, woefully bland at night when they’re needed the most.
Compensation is offered by deeply, richly presented earthy colors, dominated by greens and browns. Brody remains pale through the piece, which makes sense, the colors around him then even more striking. Leaves are brilliant in their intensity, and the ground is littered with strewn bark, dead leaves, and mud. Distinctive qualities separate it all.
Focus is hard to keep, the camera shoved into the steel of a crushed vehicle, keeping it centered on Brody. That choice will cause a number of focal concerns, robbing the film of its texture. Still, they’re naturally soft, and others become tightly defined to produce that crisp facial detail the transfer seems to be searching for. Exteriors are typically gorgeous, the encode finding itself in a tough scenario, but pushing through it unscathed.
A barely there grain structure doesn’t hinder the compression either, providing a slightly gritty, dirty look without any quirks. Instead, it frees it up to preserve that detail, lush, rich detail that is rarely less than pleasing. You can find better looking forests in HD, although they’re certainly not that common. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Video]
Wrecked’s DTS-HD track carries with it a great asset: water. Around nine minutes in, rain begins to pound on the roof of the car, the effect startling in its reality. A river near the hour mark will impress with its stereo usage, and the rapids to follow will invigorate the subwoofer while pushing through the stereos and surrounds.
This is a perpetually quiet film, isolating Brody from any civilization or even wildlife. It’s quiet… too quiet. There’s nothing in the way of ambiance, and the few critters he does cross don’t add anything. His cries for help don’t even echo in the emptiness.
In fact, his screams in the midst of frustrations sound clipped on the high end, losing their fidelity and cleanliness. Sound effects can become muffled, and his words almost lost. Considering how pure everything else sounds, the lack of clarity here is a mystery. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Audio]
A 14-minute making of is as basic as they come, moving from a small recap into the reasons for the roles and the shoot itself. A Day in the Life of George is a funny little bit about the dead body prop in the back of the car and its role. Flight of the Chevy is focused squarely on bringing in the car, the crew, and equipment via helicopter. The Woman’s Perspective gives actress Caroline Dhavernas a chance to speak on her character. There’s a trailer left if you want to check that out. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Extras]