Wednesday, 4 July 2012

EIFF 2012: Brake

This isn’t the first Brake review to reference Buried, and it almost certainly won’t be the last. Like Rodrigo Cortés’s tense 2010 thriller, Brake locks a Hollywood hunk in a tight space and ratchets up the sticky, claustrophobic tension via near escapes and menacing phone calls from captors.

At first, Gabe Torres’s feature debut is comparably effective – the boot of a car doesn’t trigger quite the same primal fears as a ten-foot deep coffin, but Stephen Dorff conveys just the right amount of desperation, and the gradual discovery of the plot his character’s mixed up in (it’s an amusing irony that a large-scale terrorist conspiracy plays out in ultra-constricted confines) is drip-fed at a nice pace. Then the film’s insurmountable flaws come crashing into view, with not one but two last-act twists of such staggering stupidity they evaporate the tension and smash in its tail lights for good measure, bringing a mildly impressive joyride to an unfortunate and undignified end.

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