Brick (2005)

brick_2005_poster
Brick (2005)
  • Time: 110 min
  • Genre: Crime | Drama | Mystery
  • Director: Rian Johnson
  • Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lukas Haas, Nora Zehetner, Emilie de Ravin

Storyline:

The lonely teenager Brendan finds his former girlfriend Emily dead in the entrance of a tunnel of sewage and recalls her phone call two days ago, when she said to him that she was in trouble. Brendan, who still loved Emily, met bad elements of his high-school trying to contact her, and when he succeeded, she told him that she was OK. He hides her body in the tunnel and decides to investigate the meaning and connection of four words, including “brick” and “pin”, that Emily told him to find who killed her. Using the support of his nerd friend Brain, he successively meets the small time drug dealers Kara, Dode, Brad Bramish, Laura and Tugger, to reach the teenager powerful drug dealer The Pin. Slowly, Brendan unravels the motives why Emily was killed and plots a revenge.

One review

  • ‘Brick’ is without doubt a marmite movie, you’ll either love it or hate it. I personally see it as a very brave and risky debut, which on the surface can appear overly stylised, pretentious and misguided yet dig a little deeper and only then will its smarts be truly revealed.

    Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Brendan Frye, a loner who sets about unearthing the truth behind the murder of an ex girlfriend, and in doing so takes us on a bumpy guided tour of all the low lives and degenerates which populate the underground scene of his school. Each character we meet always seems to have something to hide and nothing is as it first appears. As more and more characters creep from the shadows the more involved and convoluted the plot becomes.

    Heavily influenced by the works of fictional crime novelist Dashiell Hammett and growing up on a movie diet of film noir classics, Rian Johnson set about his debut feature by shifting the film noir narrative to a high school setting and casting it entirely with unknown up and coming actors. But Johnson doesn’t just hint or give an occasional nod toward the noir style and its framework, he flat out duplicates it, even throwing in twisted dialogue like something from a Sam Spade matinee and this is what I find really brave and commendable. I’m actually curious as to whether this movie should have been shot in black & white and wonder if this was ever a consideration pre-production?. Yet paying homage so acutely does come at a risk, I mean let’s be honest, movies like ‘The Maltese Falcon’ and ‘The Big Sleep’, great as they are, were very much part of the 40’s era and they’re style and look perfectly epitomised that period. You could lose your audience if they don’t know 40’s film noir or are not even familiar with its broader strokes. Or they could simply not buy into it at all. I believe that despite the odd shaky moment he just about gets away with it.

    The production value boasts of things far greater than its $475,000 budget and the cast do a stellar job despite struggling at times with the flamboyant dialogue. Johnson shows some fine artistic touches especially in some of the action scenes. I also liked the focus on people’s shoes, as if this gave us an insight into their characters, again forcing us to make assumptions which are often misplaced.

    When gearing up to watch a whodunnit thriller, ‘Brick’ may not turn out to be the film you wanted it to be but, its certainly the movie ‘it’ wants to be, a love letter, of sorts, to a by gone era. Style over substance could be the cry. I think it showcases some genuine talent and it’s no surprise that ‘Looper’ followed just seven years later.

    7.5/10

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