Review: Brick

MovieSteve rating:
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the white knight star of Brick
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the white knight star of Brick



Careful use of Spanish-flavoured old LA locations, low-slung camera angles and a devotion to hard-boiled dialogue, often maddeningly mumbled, make director Rian Johnson’s debut one of the most authentic nu-school noirs for some time. All the genre types are there – the honourable loner  (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), the femme fatale (Nora Zehetner), the urbane crime lord (Lukas Haas), the thick-as-pigshit muscle (Noah Fleiss). The plot too is the real deal – brain-strainingly complicated and/or pointless, you’re never sure which. The twist is – there isn’t a person in the movie over high school age. Which serves to put a shiny new coat on the old genre. And shows that, if nothing else, Johnson knows how to grab the attention. Except there is something else – brains, talent, chutzpah. After Gregg Araki’s Mysterious Skin last year, in which he played a young man with a troubled past, Brick sees Gordon-Levitt throw off the “he’s the kid from Third Rock from the Sun” tag and enter a whole new world of cool. Like watching Raymond Chandler done by nativity play kids, some of the thrill of watching Brick is in watching teenagers (JGL is actually a baby-faced 24 but even so…) ape the manners and attitudes of people much older. Alan Parker’s Bugsy did something similar. Could anyone except a real churl take against a film like that?

© Steve Morrissey 2006


Brick – at Amazon




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Brick (2005) Action, Crime, Drama | 110min | 14 April 2006 (USA) 7.3
Director: Rian JohnsonWriter: Rian JohnsonStars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lukas Haas, Emilie de RavinSummary: 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. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


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