Whatever happened to Adrien Brody? In the fourteen years or so that’ve passed since he won the Oscar for The Pianist, he seems to have slid down the Hollywood later to the “limited release Aussie thriller” rung. Which would be acceptable if Backtrack – said limited release Aussie thriller – was a legitimately good film.
Brody isn’t bad in it – if nothing else, he sells his Australian accent, even if it’s too English-tinged to believed have come from a Maryborough boy. But the film itself seems too intent on reconsidering genre clichés to muster anything outside of commentary on those clichés. It stumbles from twist to twist with a nonchalance (“Oh, all these people were ghosts? Cool.”) that’s subversive until it’s tiresome. Backtrack swiftly descends into a string of telegraphed twists with no real character support beneath them. Oh, and there are jump scares aplenty, none of which work (and many of which are downright laughable).
On the plus side, if we ignore some ropey CGI, the film looks really good. Aussie cinematographer Stefan Duscio threads the needle between Gore Verbinski’s work on The Ring and low-budget Fincher homage; shame the script he’s shooting couldn’t have been a bit better.