It must be admired for trying to do what it does on such a minute budget
Brakes is so blatantly a low budget picture with terrible camera quality and editing that only matches up to a student’s end of first-year project, it already has a massive disadvantage when it comes to attempting to get its message across. All too often it does fall short, and looking the way it does, gives it no support at all.
The film tracks multiple couples as they break up. From an altercation on a beach to the bashing down of a toilet door, and a particularly awkward script run through, Brakes looks at how the relationships ended before it discovers how they began.
It often feels like a struggle, a minority of the relationships simply do not work, with their scenes lasting too long and only getting their point across after an extended period. It breaks any flow the film had, which is naturally a difficult concept to grasp in a multi-narrative film anyway. There will always be sections that seem more fluid, but there does need to be a greater consistency throughout.
This perhaps comes clear where the more established actors are used. Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt, though neither known for their strong acting ability, certainly have something about them, lighting up their scenes with a strong screen presence. Some of the star-lite scenes struggle for this exact reason.
Brakes does feel lopsided as it flops from one scene then bounds to the next. It never seems to be able to fully grasp what it’s trying to do, while flicking from scene to scene. It has highlights, and it has lowlights, but it must be admired for trying to do what it does on such a minute budget.