98. Brick (2006)

Move aside Nancy Drew

8/10
Directed by: Rian Johnson
Written by: Rian Johnson
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lukas Haas and Emilie de Ravin

Rian Johnson’s Brick is a fast talking, smart, original and visually creative work. The writer-director’s bold step in relocating the charismatic film noir, detective genre into the world of high school crime, loners and jocks, pays off big time as the performances, intriguing plot and unique dialogue make for a film that requires the audience to concentrate with pleasure. This brain teaser, however, won’t be too enjoyable for those who want quick answers, a light-hearted flick or straightforward comedy. Nothing is as it seems in this feature and I suggest you don’t leave for a toilet break.

The Invincible Geek

When Brendan (Gordon-Levitt) – a tough, but isolated teen – receives a phone call from an upset and frightened ex-girlfriend, Emily (de-Raven), he becomes determined to uncover the dark and shady activities of her newfound social group, and discover the reasons behind her distress call. To say more – even about the first shot we see – would be to spoil the film.

While this hard-boiled detective story is given qualities of the bizarre and beautiful through visual direction, the very lingo used by the characters within the film smack of something you might not typically expect from a pretty ordinary looking high school in California. As Rian Johnson gets a bit over indulgent with the film noir detective cool and wit in the character of Brendan (seriously, the kid might as well have a cigarette dangling out of his mouth … think Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep..), it can be often difficult to follow the film’s plot through dialogue alone. At times Brick can almost feel like an odd little foreign film that one must decipher through dramatic action and visuals alone. And in some cases, it’s the dialogue-less moments that are the most intriguing, exciting and engaging.

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