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Brick

2005 mystery film that takes place in a high school

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Enjoyable and Unique

  • Apr 13, 2007
  • by
Rating:
+3
"Brick"

Enjoyable and Unique

Amos Lassen and Cinema Pride

While looking for something to watch for the weekend, I came upon "Brick", a very enjoyable film noir set in high school. It is something new and different--a bit over-the-top but very well done. This is not a kind of movie that allows you to sit back and relax as you watch it. It is very dark and sinister and keeps you on the edge of your seat once the action gets moving. I put it into y DVD player knowing nothing about it and was surprised how quickly it sucked me in.
The film takes place in the California of today, in a nice neighborhood and at a good high school, Brendan Frye is a student of above average intelligence and he is not afraid to back his words with action. He prefers to be an outsider until his ex-girlfriend, Emily, suddenly comes onto him again and then quickly disappears. He still has strong feelings for her and he becomes consumed wit finding her. Since he has been a loner, he really has no friends except one who is known as the Brain. He enlists his help while, at the same time, keeping the vice principal of the school occasionally informed about what is going on. As things progress the investigation becomes quite dangerous. Brendan begins to discover secrets of some of his fellow students and this pushes him into a "relationship' with the sophisticated rich girl, Laura while at the same time he intimidates another student, Tugger as well as Dode who has been using illegal substances. Then he collides with very seductive Kara, the jock, Brad, and a non-student named Pin. When he finally gains some sort of acceptance into Pin's inner circle, which is closely guarded, does he learn about crime and about himself, Emily and the people he suspects are responsible for Emily's disappearance.
The film follows the same story structure as film noir with the same kid of odd ball characters. The dialog is typical of the film noir of Hollywood of the 30's and 40's but what makes it unique is that it is set in a high school. The director, Rian Johnson, does a skillful job in telling the story and the editing is smooth and quick helping to build the suspense. All of the actors are wonderful-Joseph Gordan-Levitt, once again proves that he can hold his own, Emile DeRavin as Emily is a wonder and Robert Roundtree in a cameo as the vice principal is excellent.
The film pays homage to the wonderful genre and classics of film noir. Using high students to update a Hollywood tradition was a stroke of genius.
The movie won a special jury prize at Sundance which attests to its quality. It is a true original made on a very small budget. For that alone, it deserves our attention.

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More Brick (2005 movie) reviews
review by . February 08, 2012
Wonderful qualities that sink....just like a brick
Film noir has to be one of my favorite genres in the realm of story weaving. As a mixture of crime drama, mystery, German expressionism, thriller, melodrama and even a few drops of horror film noir has had a presence in cinema since the 1940s.  I do not proclaim myself a film noir expert per se, but I have seen plenty of films in this category to be a fair judge of what is good and what is not.  The best analogy I have for this film is being on a date with a woman who is beautiful and …
review by . February 21, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Here's what the deal is: "I'll have my boys check your tale. Seeing how it stretches, we'll either rub or hire you. You'll know which by the end of the day tomorrow." And, "Drop me off at school."       Brick, an independent movie written and directed by Rian Johnson, is part stunt, part style and part energetic riff on gumshoe movies. Movie references are dropped like names but with more subtlety. It takes place in and around an affluent, …
review by . April 30, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
You think you've got it all figured out when you don't....
Film noir was one of cinemas most popular and most profitable genre or it uses to be back in the last stretch of the golden years in Hollywood (1940-1950). The last neo-noir the golden era pushed out was Orson Welles "Touch of Evil"(1958)   while during its release, it was well received but it sadly failed to reignite the flame of a fading genre. Noir seemed almost dead   until   an up and coming director named Roman Polanski took on the dangerous task of …
Quick Tip by . July 27, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A great modern film-noir. Joesph Gordon Levitt is Amazing. hard to think thats the kid for 3rd rock from the sun.
Quick Tip by . June 29, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Creative and beautiful! The language is like no other movie I have seen, and I just love it.
Quick Tip by . April 29, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A potent mix of teen drama and film noir thrown into the modern day setting of a crime filled High school underworld
review by . December 23, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Brendan
In up and coming director Rian Johnson's film Brick, audiences are treated to a truly unique and memorable mystery film. Inspired by the literary work of the great detective novel writer Dashiell Hammett, who is best known as the creator of Sam Spade and The Thin Man, Rian Johnson set out to create a hip, contemporary noir film. While simultaneously following in the footsteps of great mystery writers like Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, Johnson succeeds in revitalizing the detective genre …
review by . February 13, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: True indie look and feel, easy to like characters by and large      Cons: The story gets lost more than once, ending is sudden and tacked on.      The Bottom Line: It'd hard to recommend or say avoid.  It is ok and worth considering, beyond that . . . if you like any actor, you will likely not be disappointed.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. I just glanced at the average …
review by . June 23, 2007
Thinking about high school, it's odd that no "high school noir" films existed prior to the last few years. High school is such a perfect setting for a film noir, and though it may seem ridiculous at first, there's many parallels between the world of a teenager and a character in a 1940s noir, be it the battle between the police and the shamuses and the battle between the administrators and the students or the shady meetings under bridges and the shady meetings in the parking lot after school. In …
review by . October 22, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
It's not easy being a teenager. Belonging or not belonging to a clique or gang can bring horrible expectations--ones that aren't easy to fulfill. Brendan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is an outsider, the way many outsiders are, but he is different. Brendan is devoted to his love, Emily Kostich, and will do anything to protect her. When she brushes off his love interest, she puts herself in harm's way. She is killed and Brendan finds her washed in a creek near an underground tunnel. From here he becomes …
About the reviewer
Amos Lassen ()
Ranked #210
I am an academic who reivews movies and books of interest to the GLBT and Jewish communities.   I came to Arkansas after having been relocated here due to Hurricane Katrina. I was living in … more
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About this movie

Wiki

High school collides with hard-boiled film noir in the twisty, cunningBrick. When he gets a mysterious message from his ex-girlfriend, a high school loner named Brendan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt,Mysterious Skin) starts to dig into a crisscrossed web of drugs and duplicity, eventually getting entwined in the criminal doings of a teenage crime lord known as the Pin (Lukas Haas), his thuggish henchman Tugger (Noah Fleiss,Joe the King), and a mysterious girl named Laura (Nora Zehetner,Fifty Pills).Brickhas not only the seductive, labyrinthine plot of a crime thriller by Dashiell Hammett (The Maltese Falcon) or Raymond Chandler (Farewell, My Lovely) but also a dense high-school version of hard-boiled lingo that's both comic and poetic. The movie unfolds with headlong momentum as Brendan manipulates, fights, and staggers his way through layers of high-school society. Gordon-Levitt is excellent; between this and the equally compellingMysterious Skin, he's left his3rd Rock from the Sundays behind. Also featuring Meagan Good (Waist Deep) and Richard Roundtree (Shaft).--Bret Fetzer
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Details

Director: Rian Johnson
Genre: Drama
Release Date: March 31, 2006
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: August 8, 2006
Runtime: 1hr 57min
Studio: Universal Studios, Focus Features, Rogue Pictures
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