Movie Review: Brick

4 06 2010

Brick (trailer) is a lovely little movie that came out in 2006. It’s lead is played by one of my favorite actors, Joesph Gordon-Levitt, so I might be a bit of a biased party. It also doesn’t help my biased that it’s presented in a film-noir style, which is another of my favorites. But I think that people that enjoy movies with interesting concepts (like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Donnie Darko, Science of Sleep, Stranger than Fiction) or even anime (the director, Rian Johnson, sites Cowboy Bebop as an influence on this film) will find things to like.

Anyway, Brick is a crime/detective story set in a modern era with ‘high school aged’ characters but orchestrated in the manner of a 1940’s detective novel/movie (see Dick Tracy). It details the after effects of Brendan’s (Gordon-Levitt) relationship with Emily (played by Emile de Ravin), specifically when she falls further into a drug ring , run by a mysterious (and as it turns out, quite interestingly casted) kingpin – referred to as the ‘pin’.  I won’t go on to detail to much further in plot, aside from saying it’s got some good twists and turns – requiring multiple watches to pick up on some of the subtle nuances. The ending is something that still stands out in my mind, due to it’s interesting camera placements and ‘twists’.

As for the form, Brick hits it out of the park; film-noir is an interesting style and requires a cool character to make it pop. Gordon-Levitt does this admirably and when combined with the assorted cast of interesting characters, era-inspired soundtrack, and ‘old school’ film techniques dials the style up as loud as it can go. I especially liked a piano supported poem (Originally from an Opera by Sullivan & Gilbert – The Mikado) , delivered by Laura (Nora Zehetner) at a party as well as Laura’s Theme, which is a great homage to film-noir. I would say the only this I can bash is the casting of one of the characters (Dode, played by Noah Segan) and some of his dialogue; his character came off very whiny and misinformed, which was key to some of the plot, so I feel it’s something that can be excused.

Metacritic and RottenTomatoes give Brick a decent score, 72 and 79%, respectfully. But I would rate it a bit higher due to it’s unwavering incarnation of a hard-boiled detective movie and excellent casting.

Rating: 9/10

See if: You’re a fan of film-noir, detective/crime movies, quirky movies, or if you want to test neo-noir.

Skip it: You don’t like crime novels/movies.

Format: DVD, Netflix Instawatch

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2 responses

4 06 2010
banzaiwolfe

I thought it was a really odd movie, but I did enjoy it. Weird movies can be some of the best, just like video games (Deadly Premonition).

4 06 2010
Driftwood

It does take some getting used to; I found the delivery of the dialogue to be the hardest thing to adjust to, so many of the mannerisms they used are outdated and you go “wait, what did they just say?”

There’s a really odd relationship between “strangeness” and “accessibility” – that’s why shows that push the boundaries of the ‘norm’ either wind up lasting a while (Daily Show/Colbert Report, Nearly anything on today’s Cartoon Network, or Buffy) or become ‘cult classics’, i.e. are too odd to be enjoyed by the masses (Rocky Horror Picture Show, Firefly, etc).

And Deadly Premonition is intensely awkward, which just reinforces it’s awesome-ness.

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