Cumberbatch's Crumbling Composure
"Wreckers" comes from writer and director Dictynna Hood and is officially their debut movie and as debuts go it isn't bad. But it is also a movie which whilst showing potential also has problems and the most significant of which is it doesn't have the substance to be a movie. What I mean by that "Wreckers" takes the familiar idea of someone arriving in the life of a married couple and upsets the harmony as secrets are revealed. But what we get is enough for an hour long drama and so in order to creep it up to closer to the movie mark, in this case 85 minutes, there is a lot of padding, shots of trees and planes in the sky. It upsets the rhythm of the story and makes it become disjointed, spoiling the atmosphere which at times is great.
Having brought a run down property in the village which he grew up in, David (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Dawn (Claire Foy) are looking to start a family. But to their surprise David's brother Nick (Shaun Evans - Sparkle) shows up and with him a lot of issues, from nightmares to sleep walking. But Nick brings something else with him, secrets from their childhood and it unsettles the harmony as David becomes more and more agitated as Dawn discovers things about her husband she never knew.
At its heart "Wreckers" delivers that familiar idea that someone who enters the lives of a happily married couple ends up ruining the harmony. It's a basis which has been used in a lot of other movies often with the person being a lodger who becomes ominous and threatening. Here we have a difference because this is a brother and with him he brings the secrets of his and his brother's past, from the various troubled families in the village to the abuse they suffered as children.
As such whilst we have Nick with his issues, from sleepwalking to night terrors what "Wreckers" becomes about is how his presence ends up unsettling the in control David. We watch as whilst David is initially happy to see Nick the more Dawn and Nick talk the more David becomes unsettled, edgy by what his wife will discover. And this has a knock on effect because the more edgy and aggressive David becomes the more unsure Dawn becomes, is Nick as much trouble as David says or is it the other way around. It forces her to turn to Gary who grew up with the brothers and shows an interest in her despite being married. As you can guess this basically becomes a tangled web of lies and secrets as things boil up to breaking point.
And to be honest whilst Hood focuses on this story of trouble "Wreckers" is good; there is tension, atmosphere and elements of fear. There are also good performances from Benedict Cumberbatch, Claire Foy and Shaun Evans although the uncouth, swearing nature of Evans as Nick feels forced. But the trouble is that there is a lot of padding, long lingering shots of leaves flicking in the wind, a bug on a window, a plane in the sky and they have no significance or if they do it is heavily masked. These moments of padding interrupt the atmosphere and in turn cause the movie to become disjointed and the only reason I can see why they were included was to extend the running time to turn an hour drama into a movie.
What this all boils down to is that for a debut "Wreckers" is good, it has atmosphere and an interesting twist on a familiar story. But because there are so many moments which feel like they are there just to extend the running time it becomes disjointed and loses the flow and the atmosphere making it at times hard work to watch.