Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled Brake

Thoughts on, and a place to discuss, the plot details we can't reveal in our review.


We do need to talk about Brake’s two biggest plot twists, which are both dumb and predictable. (Not an easy trick to finesse.) It’s bound to cross some viewers’ minds at one point: What if this is all just a training exercise? Well, with about 10 minutes to go in the movie, just as Dorff’s case is filling up with liquid and he’s about to drown, he gets hauled to safety by his Secret Service superior Tom Berenger and Dorff’s wife Chyler Leigh, who tell Dorff that this was all a test to see if he was ready to be granted the highest security clearance. Then, just when we’re getting acclimated to this none-too-surprising turn of events, anyone with a watch and a general awareness of Brake’s running time may be asking another question: What if this “training exercise” is itself just a ruse, to lull Dorff into finally revealing the bunker’s location? And whaddaya know? As Dorff and Leigh are heading to the hospital, Dorff sees the Washington Monument in the distance and has a reaction that prompts Leigh to ask him whether that’s where the bunker is. Dorff doesn’t confirm it exactly, but his non-denial is enough to convince Leigh to kill her husband and call in the location to Berenger as the screen fades to black.

I’ve read some reviews and IMDB user comments from people who insist that the second ending is so stupid that it ruins the movie. Personally, I don’t think it’s any goofier than the twist that precedes it (or the killer bees, for that matter). Brake is not a “smart” movie, per se. It’s meant to be a white-knuckle entertainment with a cleverly constraining gimmick, and at that it’s fairly successful—at least enough to rate as just above average. That said, I might’ve been willing to bump the movie up one more notch had there been a third twist, and if it had turned out that Dorff faked out Leigh and Berenger by nodding toward the Washington Monument. That wouldn’t have been any less moronic, but it would’ve been more consistent, given that the hero spends the preceding 90 minutes risking his own life and others’ to protect the president, only to spill the beans with a shrug just before the credits.