There’s something instantly compelling about the set-up of Brake, director Gabe Torres’ close quarters, against the clock thriller. It involves a man (played by Stephen Dorff) mysteriously waking up to find himself trapped inside a see-through box with nothing but a two-way radio and a perpetual red timer above his head.
Comparisons with the 2010 Ryan Reynolds coffin-set thriller Buried are inevitable and Brake never quite reaches the level of emotional involvement or relatability of that film. Nevertheless Torres has delivered an undoubtedly tense experience in the moment, bolstered by a terrific central performance by Dorff, one of Hollywood’s most criminally underused actors.
What starts out as a mystery that keeps audiences in the dark, so to speak, things unravel to take on a decisively political flavour which opens up a raft of questions and issues as the seconds tick on down throughout the film’s lean running time. Timothy Mannion’s debut script is perhaps a little too obsessed with layering contrived twists and turns on top of one another as we find out more about who Dorff’s character is and why he’s been kidnapped. And a two-pronged ending doesn’t resolve the political aspect as satisfactorily as it should given how hard it’s worked to lay it all out.
However, there’s more than enough in there to make for an entertaining guessing game thanks to Torres’ handle on tension, a tingling sense of curiosity and Dorff’s skilled performance with a difficult role.
None. It definitely would have been nice to see a Making Of given the complexity of the single location.
Runtime – 93 mins
Age rating – 15
Number of discs – 1
Region – 2
Studio – High Fliers Films
Release date – October 29th 2012
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