Year: 2012
Production Co: Walking West Entertainment
Director: Gabe Torres
Producer: Gabe Torres
Writer: Timothy Mannion
Cast: Stephen Dorff, Chyler Leigh, Tom Berenger

The history of two films appearing about the same thing at the same time is firmly established in Hollywood lore. What's less talked about is how very often, the lesser quality of the two can inexplicably catch on.

Patrick Bergin's Robin Hood was supposed to be a far more accurate depiction of the world of Sherwood and the socio-political times of the Middle Ages, but it was the more adventurous and sexier Prince Of Thieves that raked in millions and cemented Costner's star.

Rodrigo Cortes' Buried wasn't exactly a global phenomenon, but it did very well critically and commercially. By comparison, Brake – with an almost identical premise – sank like a stone and made four grand.

It wasn't as inventive as Buried – being second out of the gate makes it inherently feel like a copy, but Brake is a very cool thriller for the same reasons. Jeremy (Dorff) wakes up locked in a plastic box with the countdown of a digital clock constantly ticking down above his head.

It soon turns out his perspex prison is in the trunk of a car, and thanks to conversations on a cell phone and a CB radio, we learn more details about his life as a Secret Service agent who knows the location of the President's secret hideout in Washington. His captors are terrorists executing an attack, but first they have to physically and psychologically break their quarry and get him to give up the secret location.

It manages to keep you intrigued considering we stay on one guy in one location, gradually revealing more about who he is and the situation he's facing. There's a twist at the end just like there was in Buried, but I found this one more inventive (if not quite as believable.

Motifs like the clock silently and ominously counting down to zero before disappearing and starting up again help ratchet up the tension along with the terror and violence building around the stricken hero. It definitely takes second prize for the timing, but not for the approach.

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