Wreckers (2011)


Wreckers: Home is where your trauma is

Director and Writer: Dictynna Hood (D R Hood)

For those of you that don’t know, “Wreckers” is about married couple Dawn (the very quiet, pensive Claire Foy) and David (played by a creepy Benedict Cumberbatch) who are surprised by the arrival of David’s war-traumatized brother Nick (Shaun Evans). Nick becomes their houseguest for an undetermined length of time, and during his stay’s duration, fissures appear in Dawn and David’s marriage. Dawn slowly realizes how she understands her husband’s childhood (memories given to her according to David) may not be accurate. Other strains like possible infertility, flirty neighbors and Nick’s PTSD make the couple’s previously tranquil hometown experience quite unsettling indeed.

This movie seemed more like a celebration of the English countryside than anything else, but I’m starting to think most movies filmed in Great Britain are natural love letters to its scenery. That being said, there were a lot of roaming shots that included a main actor but trailed off as if the character wasn’t the most important thing to look at; these trees are! Needless to say, there was a lot of foliage in this movie and a whole lot of rustling. Often times the natural sounds were the only ones we could hear so the few moments of LOUDNESS we got from one of Nick’s fits or Nick and David’s fights were extra shocking. Basically, this movie was very quiet; Quiet countryside, quiet plot build up, quiet wife coming to terms with her entire life falling apart.

Now let’s get into this.

One face for 90 minutes 

Wreckers Claire
What might as well have been Dawn’s (Claire Foy) expression for this entire movie

Dawn was constantly getting bombarded with new information, poor woman looked like the image above for too many moments than I can remember. First her brother-in-law her husband never mentioned shows up and becomes her uninvited houseguest, then he constantly tells her super dark stories of his childhood and neighbors, then she finds out her husband lied to her not only about which brother really pushed their mother down the stairs, but also about his incapability of having children!

All Dawn’s tryna do is teach, sing in her little church choir and have a baby but instead she has to shoulder the heavy emotional baggage of two brothers that may or may not have an incestuous relationship? Good luck.

Just some loverly I mean brotherly competition

I get that Nick is coming back from war and he’s traumatized and lonely. But from the second he started flirting with Dawn, it seemed more conniving than complimentary. There was something off with the way he interacted with her as if he wasn’t even really into her, just into how she responded to him. Does that make sense? It’s as if Nick wants a reaction or attraction from Dawn to prove something to himself (or to someone else?)

Nick and Dawn go on walks together throughout the movie, but they always have considerable distance between them. It’s not until David’s around that they are suddenly much closer physically than previous times.

Wreckers Shoulder
David’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) shoulder has something to say about Nick (Shaun Evans) and Dawn chatting so intimately at the brothers’ childhood farm

Take the above moment: Nick strikes up a conversation with Dawn in which they stand closer to each other than before. They never stood this close on their walks alone so what changed? I’ll tell you: David’s there this time. Now this is definitely a tactic for Nick to get under David’s skin, but is it because he wants David to be jealous or is this a projection of Nick’s own jealousy of Dawn?

“Marriage is just so restful isn’t it Dawn? You don’t have to choose anymore.”

Isn’t that so restful Dawn? When your brother-in-law uses you as a pawn for his own obsession with his own brother? Isn’t that restful? You don’t have to choose because you made your choice in David. Until you find out he’s infertile which is information he’s been deliberately been withholding from you for years. So restful.

Blonde woman (Is it bad that I can’t remember her name? I just remember her as “your wife” when Nick screamed “I FUCKED YOUR WIFE” to her husband.) said the whole “marriage is just so restful” crap happily as if she believed her own bullshit.

Now let’s be clear. We were introduced to two married couples in this movie; Dawn/David and your wife/husband (they have real names that I don’t care about). By the end of the movie, Nick slept with your wife and Dawn slept with the husband. Marriage is sooooo restful.

Before we go…

  • After one particularly uncomfortable Nick story, David tells Dawn, “If you didn’t laugh you’d have to cry,” which can be said about the MANY moments in which Nick would dump some seriously messed up shit on them and there would only be awkward laughter or silence to follow it. (Hey remember the time you manipulated me to sleep walk into a pond? Hey remember the time you pushed my head down in a trough until I almost drowned? Ha.     Ha.)
  • No matter how weird his stories got, Dawn never said anything to Nick. Yes, she suggested therapy later on, but I for one would be vocal in the moment about my dislike of hearing about which of your neighbors drowned their children and which suffered from domestic violence for x amount of years. Like what the hell? STRONG dislike.

Rating (out of 10): 5

What saved this movie from a lower score was its length. There’s only so much story to tell about a jealous, damaged man causing havoc in the life his brother has carefully constructed for himself and his wife. The 90 minutes allotted to their dysfunction was the perfect amount, Hood has a gift for telling us exactly what we need to know without drawing it out needlessly which I appreciate. This movie knows what it is: a soft, slow unraveling… A movie quiet enough for the small town it represents. I appreciate what it is, but listen I’m more of a city person. I liked this movie but I didn’t love it; It was just okay. Watchable, but not memorable.

Thank you for reading!

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