CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
Film Review: Stephen Dorff Gets Trapped in Deeply Flawed ‘Brake’
CHICAGO – With obvious comparisons to “24” and “Buried,” Gabe Torres’ “Brake” comes with a bit of referential baggage in its trunk. Also in there is Secret Service Agent Jeremy Reins (Stephen Dorff), a man trapped in a nightmarish kidnapping situation in the trunk of a car. He wakes up there and it’s where the vast majority of “Brake” takes place as he’s tortured physically and mentally by a group of terrorists trying to find the Executive Branch’s secret bunker.
Much like “Buried,” “Brake” is a one-man, real-time, claustrophobic location piece. Instead of “Ryan Reynolds in a trunk,” this one is “Stephen Dorff in a coffin,” although it does carve out enough of its own personality to stand apart from the comparisons and not feel like the rip-off that you might expect from the previews. Dorff is stellar and the film builds some tension but a bit too much required suspension of disbelief, some plot holes, weak dialogue, and two increasingly silly twist endings ultimately sink the piece. It’s only opening in major cities, however, so it will be essentially straight-to-DVD for most audiences in a few months and, judged on that standard, it’s a decent rental.
|Read Brian Tallerico’s full review of “Brake” in our reviews section.|
Agent Jeremy Reins is about to have a VERY bad morning. He wakes up in the aforementioned trunk and finds himself staring at a series of numbers…a ticking countdown. Every time it hits zero, something major happens like a new phone call, movement by the car, or bees. Yes, bees. Reins is being tortured. He has a ham radio and eventually has a phone. He begins talking to a man in another trunk with his own countdown and mental and physical torture. He also eventually communicates with his wife Molly (Chyler Leigh) and learns that she’s having a bad day as well. What do Jeremy’s captors want? Will he give it to them? Will he get out of the trunk? What kind of car has that kind of space?
Photo credit: IFC Films