Director: Gabe Torres
Starring: Stephen Dorff, Chyler Leigh, JR Bourne, Tom Berenger
It’s too bad Brake won’t be given a wide-release. People need to see Stephen Dorff’s one-man show. Literally.
90 of the 92 minutes it’s all him, kids. He plays a secret-service agent that is locked up in a clear box inside the trunk of an automobile. The only assets at his disposal are a low-frequency radio and his wits. His kidnappers, who are audible from the front seat, are trying to find out the location of the President of the United States. Dorff refuses to divulge the info despite threats being made to his wife and other apparent hostages.
The concept of the story is similar to 127 Minutes and Buried. The camera, via multiple angles, is constantly monitoring Dorff’s demeanor and struggle to understand what is happening to him. It (camera) never leaves the confines of the over-sized trunk and occasionally gives Dorff’s viewing perspective as he tries to find ways to break free. Every now and then, the vehicle is on the move, which gives clues to resourceful Dorff on how he can defuse the peculiar situation he finds himself in.
Giving any other details would ruin the suspense and/or drama that unfolds here. The heavy dialogue is balanced out with creative action tones even though the majority of them are not visible. Having multiple camera angles added some charisma to the sole set-piece and actually turned this product into a compelling thriller of sorts. You’ll be engaged right away and probably won’t be able to generate any plausible outcomes until the very end. And the filmmakers are prepared for the audiences’ anticipation.
Overall, Brake moves effortlessly and is consistently clever in keeping this concept from becoming stale and predictable. Stephen Dorff maneuvers into a zone here and does so much in this script that encompasses very little.