For five years, film critic Scott Tobias compiled "The New Cult Canon" in a regular column for The A.V. Club…
A detective story.
A teenage loner pushes his way into the underworld of a high school crime ring to investigate the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend.
If there are two types of movies that have been done to death, it's noir pastiche and high school movies. But, in one of the great bits of movie alchemy, Rian Johnson takes these two subgenres and smashes them up with the reckless abandon of someone who doesn't seem to care if anyone likes it or not, even though we all know that's impossible.
Johnson and the cast are all smart enough to know that a conceit like this will work best if it's played completely straight, and with the exception of one (arguably 2) scene(s), it is. And amusement at the idea of high school students living out a Dashiell Hammett nightmare eventually gives way to genuine and shattering…
It's not often we get to see a debut film that is made with such verve, one that truly stands out daring to be so unique. As a whole it is very much a film that delivers style over any meaningful content but what style it turns out to be. This fast talking, sharply edited modern noir appears to constantly challenge itself scene after scene, seeing if it can continue to raise expectations.
The details of the plot are almost impenetrable, the basic premise being that a spectacle wearing loner called Brendan (a rather downsized and far more agreeable Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is attempting to trace an ex-girlfriend who has asked for his help. Beyond that it's a case of suburban…
"Whatever befalls you I'll deal with. Just tell me about the trouble with the brick, the pin."
Brick is writer and director, Rian Johnson's, feature debut which he delivered with great craftsmanship and an original and unique vision. Despite having seen Looper first, I think Brick is still Johnson's best film and most impressive one. It has a very original and smart concept which I haven't seen played out so well an any other film. Brick has all the classic noir conventions of films from the 30's like The Maltese Falcon, but it is set in a very different and drastic manner. So in a way Brick has a similar mood and atmosphere of classic film noir, but by setting…
So now we've shaken the tree. Let's wait and see what falls on our heads.
Brick is a film that shouldn't work.
It actually took me a few tries to get fully submerged into Rian Johnson's bleak neo noir high school drama thriller. Yes, all those words belong in the same sentence.
I've tried several times to watch Brick but every one of those times I've been distracted, disengaged, or the film just failed to pull me in. I finally powered through the film last night and I feel incredibly silly for not being able to finish it. Brick is one of those films whose clawed grip only sinks deeper into your flesh and fills your veins with colder and…
A modern day film noir, but at high school with teenagers. And surprisingly, it works.
Do you remember what high school was like? That was the whole universe. There was nothing beyond it. Nothing. The way the film utilizes these desolate sports fields and empty car parks, as if to suggest there is no life and no world beyond the California hills that frame nearly every setting...clever stuff. There is also the complete lack of the adult beyond the most simple archetype: the mother and the principle, and the fact that, while most of the characters are students seen in or around the school, we never see anyone doing anything even remotely close to school work. To the characters, this is the real world, as the real world is to a detective in the true old film noirs.
A tremendous amount of thought went into this story, and that hard work definitely raises this above a simple gimmick.
Some people salivate over Christopher Nolan. Some people hold Joss Whedon as God's gift to cinema. Others may think worlds of PTA, Scorsese, or Kubrick and that none of those directors can do wrong. That is all well and good, but my inner movie fanboyism is pointed at someone else.
With just three films under his belt, no one excites me more these days than Rian Johnson. All three of his movies have a bold, staunch vision that doesn't compromise anything. Whether it is a science fiction movie that decides to abandon the world it created up to that point and spend the entire second half on a farm or a lighthearted romp with a pair of con men brothers,…
"You have preserved in your own lifetime, sir, a way of life that was dead before you were born."
--Harold the butler in Elaine May's "A New Leaf" (1971)
You will forgive me for reaching back 35 years for a quotation to open this review of "Brick," since the movie itself is inspired by hard-boiled crime novels written by Dashiell Hammett between 1929 and 1934. What is unexpected, and daring, is that "Brick" transposes the attitudes and dialogue of classic detective fiction to a modern Southern California high school. These are contemporary characters who say things like, "I got all five senses and I slept last night. That puts me six up on the lot of you." Or, "Act smarter…
Refreshing take on the noir film's and novel's of the 1920's and 1930's that was visually and audibly interesting as well. I liked all the unusual camera angles, often focusing on shoes or shooting upwards at the characters.
One shot of the football field with all the birds flying off at once was especially memorable to me. The sound was designed very immersing as well, most notably in the foot chase sequence with the all the shoe noises.
Definite viewing recommendation, though I would have been lost without subtitles - not only is the slang very weird, characters also mumble all the time.
The since-rising fortunes of Johnson and Gordon-Levitt haven't reduced this film one bit. I'm convinced, more and more, that it's one of *the* films of the 2000s.
Klasična noir pliča, ali smještena u high school svijet se na prvu učini vrlo neobičnim, no ubrzo se dobro smjesti u tom okruženju, izvuče iz njega neku posebnu notu i postane interesantan, unatog budžetu od ispod pol milje i vremenu snimanja manjem od mjesec dana. Za razliku od redateljevog nedavnog Loopera, ovaj prvijenac je čak pametno napisan i uz posebne dijaloge, izvrsnog Levitta, zanimljivu kameru i dobar dodatak humora, jasno je zašto danas ima kultan status.
don't be a dick, watch this film.
Features the most sophisticated speaking high schoolers I have ever encountered.
I tend to like detective movies. I really love high school teenage movies. So, I should love Brick, right? Um... No.
Brick is an original movie. The acting by Joseph Gordon Levitt is really good. However, Brick is hard to follow or care for. I cannot pinpoint exactly what is wrong with it, but it's really dull. The plot and the characters are bad. Maybe it's the school setting. If the characters were adults and the movie was not set in high-school, then maybe it would have worked.
- Donnie Darko
- Morvern Callar
- Irma Vep
- Miami Blues
- Babe: Pig in the City
- Only God Forgives
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
- Spring Breakers
- A Field in England
Recently, I've become aware that certain films are able to transcend the medium by being completely self-assured in their atmospheres…
- There Will Be Blood
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
- Mulholland Drive
- Children of Men
- No Country for Old Men
1. THERE WILL BE BLOOD (2007) by Paul Thomas Anderson
IMDb: 8.1 | RT: 91% || Points: 2110 | Peak:…