"Grim Irony Undermines Heroic Effort"
What You Need To Know:
BRAKE is expertly shot and paced, with a good performance by Stephen Dorff. Viewers will identify with Stephen’s heroic character. However, all the heroic efforts go for naught at the very end. They are undermined by an unnecessarily grim, tragically ironic twist in the final five minutes. Overlooking the final five minutes or less, the movie has some rewarding moments, especially for action fans, but only up to a point. Also, BRAKE also contains significant spurts of strong foul language. That, and the disappointing downbeat ending, warrant extreme caution.
(B, P, C, H, LLL, VV, MM) Light moral, heroic, patriotic worldview with a Christian element in one scene where the Lord’s Prayer is recited, but the positive elements are undermined by an ironic, humanist, grim ending in the last five minutes; about 49 obscenities and profanities; strong violence includes hero finds himself knocked around car trunk as car speeds through the streets, gets smacked into by other cars, is shot at by another vehicle, a swarm of vicious bees is unleashed into the trunk, and the hero is forced to desperately accept an antidote to the bee stings via a painful shot, a Good Samaritan is shot trying to free the hero from the trunk, man almost drowns; no sex; no nudity; no alcohol; no smoking or drugs; and, betrayal and grim and ironic ending where the hero ultimately fails and is undone.
BRAKE is an expertly shot and paced thriller with an inventively claustrophobic setting. It provides veteran character actor Stephen Dorff a chance to show off his skills while playing a rare hero role amid a career mostly filled with playing villains and cads. However, a grim ironic ending undermines the protagonist’s heroic efforts and the rest of the movie’s heroic tone.
The plot of BRAKE is simple. Jeremy, a Secret Service agent, wakes up inside a car trunk he believes is rigged to explode. Jeremy desperately tries to figure out what is happening to him amid one perilous threat after another. Meanwhile, his car swerves, speeds, and occasionally bangs into other vehicles. Also, a shooting incident involves bullets flying all around him. Even wild bees swarm around him after being funneled into the trunk. Then, he watches a man get shot dead while trying to release him. Finally, he starts to panic as he appears about to drown.
[SPOILER ALERT] Jeremy believes other Secret Service agents have saved him. He shows surprise when he apparently learns that he’s actually passed a trust exercise and will now be promoted to protecting the president. However, an illogical and grim twist in the last five minutes nearly ruins the movie. Also, Jeremy’s earlier survival goes all for naught.
BRAKE makes the most of its limited, claustrophobic setting, and apparently limited budget. It provides plenty of thrills for the space. Dorff makes the most of his rare chance to play a good guy. This energizes his performance, making his character easy to cheer. However, the final twist is not only impossible; but, it also ends the movie on an unnecessarily grim, tragically ironic note that probably will disappoint viewers. Overlooking the final five minutes or less, however, the movie has some rewarding moments, especially for action fans, but only up to a point. Thus, BRAKE contains significant spurts of strong foul language. That, and the disappointing downbeat ending, warrant extreme caution.