“BRICK”–unique and enjoyable


Enjoyable and Unique

Amos Lassen

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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