‘Brake’ Movie Review
Although this weekend has the potential to be one of the biggest movie openings in recent history, there are alternative movies to see. One of which is the limited release of Gabe Torres’ Brake. Starring Stephen Dorff, this claustrophobic action thriller finds a way to think outside the box, even if the conclusion isn’t the tidiest.
Jeremy Reins (Dorff) is an undercover Secret Service agent who has been kidnapped and stuck in the back of a trunk. The movie picks up as Reins comes back to consciousness. The trunk is enclosed with glass, which allows the perpetrators to control every action, whether it be through light, sound, or anything more unbearable. These perpetrators turn out to be terrorists who need inside information regarding the President of the United States. Their unique way of torture leads to some “what-if” scenarios that are both scary and entertaining.
Virtually the entire movie is spent within the confines of the trunk, which makes it seem like a tough sell. Not only are we constricted to close-ups of one guy, but we are pretty oblivious to what is going on outside the car. I wouldn’t consider the latter a criticism, though. Since we are in the dark (pun intended) as much as him, we must try to figure things out, too. This makes for a fun ride (pun not intended).
However, the constricted setting doesn’t hinder the film. Torres, and writer Timothy Mannion, smartly install a countdown device within the trunk, which helps create suspense. This doesn’t allow the trapped-in-the-trunk feeling to become boring, instead it turns out to be quite exciting.
Secondly, the terrorists leave an old radio in the trunk which allows Reins to communicate with the outside world. We can chalk this up as strategy for the terrorists (however stupid it may appear to be), but it also allows for actual dialogue to happen. Through this radio (and other ways), we find out what is going on outside. The bits and pieces we do hear are scary.
There is no doubt the most talked about part of this film will be the resolution. By the way, I’m still mulling over the effectiveness of it. However, I think it may be a bit unfair to criticize the film on this sole basis. I, myself, didn’t particularly enjoy it. However, Reins’ die-hard personality and unrelenting patriotism is what really stuck with me. Yes, I thought the film deserved a cleaner ending, but I don’t think it sacrificed the character one bit. Dorff does a great job in this film, which I hope leads him to more starring roles in the future.
Unpredictable probably doesn’t translate into quality, which ultimately makes Brakes’ ending less-than-stellar. However, the concept still treats the moviegoers to a great experience. There are a lot of things working against the movie – limited setting, voice acting, and lack of explosive action. However, there is plenty to enjoy. Most of the enjoyable parts involve Dorff’s character, but I would hardly say that is the only thing going for the movie.
If you’d like to take a break from the blockbuster weekend, try to find Brake playing near you. It’s a fun, little action story that has something interesting things to say about human emotions and torture as a whole.