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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Sept 3: Brake


Sept 3: Brake

"A Secret Service Agent is held captive in the trunk of a car and endures mental and physical torture as terrorists attempt to extract information for their plot against the President of the United States."
Directed by: Gabe Torres, Rated: R, 92 minutes

In 2010, we were introduced to the film Buried, a ridiculously claustrophobic thriller about a man buried alive in a coffin with only ninety minutes to find a way out. I love the film and wondered when another movie like it would come along, trying to bank of the success of Buried. Brake is that film, following a similar plot but with a man stuck inside the trunk of a car instead of six feet under. There are plenty of things that both movies share and Brake would seem like a movie you could just dismiss as a 'rip-off', but it really does hold its own. 

Buried was one of my favorite movies of 2010, here's my review

The film follows government agent Jeremy Reins(Stephen Dorf), who wakes up in darkness in what appears to be a glass case. Immediately his training kicks into gear and he figures out what he has at his disposal. The only thing in his "coffin" is an old CB radio, where he hears a voice crackling through the static. It turns out there's a man named Henry who's also in the same position as Jeremy and the two try to figure out who would want them in such a grave situation. They soon realize that the reasoning behind their capture is the fact that the they know the location of the President's bunker, a place that constantly changes and is known as the Roulette. As their situation escalates, Jeremy knows he only has time before he's killed and he struggles with giving up the location, knowing full well that he took an oath to protect the POTUS. However, when his captors bring his wife into the equation, Jeremy panics even more and does whatever he can and uses whatever resources possible to find a way out. 
Waking up in darkness, in a box, has got to be one of the scariest things ever. But dammit, Dorff's prepared. 

As much as I would like explaining the plot in more depth, it's really hard to go into further detail without giving it all away. Brake is very exciting though and features many moments of intensity that bring you to the point of feeling uncomfortable and worried about Jeremy. Stephen Dorff does a great job as the only man on the screen for 98% of the film and makes you believe he really is a government badass who will do whatever it takes to "not let the terrorists win". Great camerawork is used as well, really capturing the feeling of panic and claustrophobia. Brake has great pacing and as it all escalates and the motives become more clear, the way everything plays out proves even more intriguing. However, nothing 'gold' can stay and the ending absolutely ruins everything Brake tried to create in the first 80 minutes. It's absolutely ridiculous and really pisses you off because the movie had the potential to be something great. 

A better look at the TORTURE MOBILE. *dramatic music*

Even with it's awful ending, I would still recommend Brake. The first 80 minutes are genuinely great and Dorff never falters as the lead. Compared to Buried, Brake is certainly inferior but in no means a rip-off. The film was actually in production during the same time as Buried and it lost the race to the box office as Buried was picked up for distribution almost immediately after it premiered. It's a shame as well because I really believe Brake deserves more attention than it received. While the movie has it's flaws (...stupid ending), the final product is exhilarating enough to warrant a watch and even has it's own handful of twists that keep you guessing what happens next. 

The Good:
Stephen Dorff carrying a fast-paced thriller into something that's much more exciting than you'd think
The Bad:
lapses of realism that take away a little bit from the story
The Ugly:
the film's conclusion just leaves you angry and almost defeats any purpose the movie attempted to fulfill

Overall: 7.2/10


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At September 9, 2012 at 12:36 AM , Blogger Ryan McNeely said...

The ending was just ridiculous, wasn't it? If the editor had just summarily executed the last 3 minutes (with a really big pair of scissors) then this would have been a cracking little thriller. Glad someone else has seen it though!

At September 9, 2012 at 12:37 AM , Blogger Nick said...

I was so upset. At first I thought, okay, not bad.. but then after it was all over I felt like a cheap whore.


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