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Stephen Dorff gets stuck in a car trunk. And - surprise, surprise - it actually kind of works....
MPI / 92 Minutes / 2012 / Rated R / Street Date: July 24, 2012
Sofia Coppola was right: Stephen Dorff is an untapped talent. Her whimsical Somewhere was perhaps a tad too navel-gazing and oblique for its own good, but it proved on an indie-cinema canvas that while Dorff definitely has a full slate of straight-to-video genre flicks to his credit, when given material that actually showcases nuance, the guy is able to sink his teeth into it effectively. Handsome and brash, moody and aggressive, Dorff is resilient and dependable in creating a vivid on-screen presence every time.
And there's zero question that his dedication to the shtick-y premise of Brake is what makes it as fun as it is. At its core, this is yet another dude-trapped-in-a-box thriller that hits all the same notes as Buried with Ryan Reynolds or all the others, but as another episode of The Stephen Dorff Show, it passes the time freshly. With the vague barked order from a hidden face - "Give us the location of Roulette" - Brake lets Dorff run through the rigors of an impassioned man in trouble, and it's a blast.
See, Dorff plays National Security Agency operative Jeremy Reins, one of the very few people who know the location of Roulette, the secret location of an underground shelter built to protect the President in case of an international emergency, and while he's trapped in the trunk of a car, some major stuff is going down in the outside world - in short, Brake may focus on a dude in a cramped, dimly-lit space, but its story is global and wide-reaching in its overall shape.
Brake is a simple movie, a somewhat unambitious movie, a cliched movie - but there's nevertheless a turn-your-brain-off-and-enjoy thrill to be mined here. Its final moments spin out of control and unfortunately allow the movie to end with a thud, but for those of us who have sung the praises of Stephen Dorff for years, Brake hits what it aims for enough to make a viewing worthwhile. It goes without saying it could have been worse.