Recently, I've become aware that certain films are able to transcend the medium by being completely self-assured in their atmospheres…
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.
It's really quite amazing what Rian Johnson can do with an incredibly limited budget. Brick is nothing if not creative—it may utilize genre conventions, but it does so in a unique way. As a lover of inventive cinematography the biggest standout for me was the framing: everything is shot from an extremely low angle, and many characters are defined as much by their shoes as anything else (and speaking of signature imagery, there's a pervasive fear of garbage bags running through the film that definitely gave me chills once or twice). The editing is also phenomenal, constantly pushing the envelope and using every trick in the book to keep you on your toes. The dialogue's snappy imitation-noir…
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…
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…
"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…
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.
intricate as fuq
High school noir. Johnson successfully mashes together to disparate genres into something fresh and fun. Not just content with combining the two, he also adds a lot of directorial flourishes. The plot keeps on twisting and tuning, but never leaving the audience behind. I'm telling ya, that kid is going places.
Brick is a masterful neo-noir which begins in media res, giving little clue about what is going on, and maintains a (deceivingly) ferocious pace. The flat, low angled framing of the scenes with a central focal point (often a clue), and a smattering of jump cuts are often used to help create curiosity, and the dialogue is equally fast and specialised. The background of the characters, like the plot, are very ambiguous, yet you can some how invest in and root for the protagonist's snooping, despite his character flaws. The determined attitude of Gordon-Levitt's character is superbly portrayed, and the many beatings he has to show for this are just some examples of the dark comedy scattered around the mystery…
Brendan Fry: I've shaken the tree, now let's see what falls on me (Brendan turns and The Tug hits him)
I am glad this film stood up to scrutiny, since I have been watching some of the noir classics recently; The Maltese Falcon, Chinatown (didn't review it, didn't finish it, had to make dinner), Miller's Crossing to which I would add Winter's Bone and The Big Sleep. It remains within my top 50 films, despite the infinite ease with which you can throw around list orders on Letterboxd. Films outside the top 50 move around in a fluid whirlpool, but those 50 are the rock at its centre and they haven't changed for quite a while.
I would distinguish these…
I forgot how flawless the script is. This deserves to be held in the same pantheon as some of film's greatest noir pieces. Second viewing was even more incredible than the already outstanding first one.
This film is too cool
THIS IS THE MODERNISTIC TAKE ON SHAKESPEARE LUHRMANNS 'ROMEO + JULIET' WANTED TO BE
aw I never get bored of this film.
Maybe its biggest 'flaw' is its confidence. While the confidence fits the style of the film and protagonist, and the cliches are essential to its cartoon feel and post modernity, but its so unshy about standing next to giants, it sometimes gets knocked down. And not just cinematically, to put your creation right next to the experience of Sister Ray, thats fucking bold. But I do love it because of that.
It does the Peanuts thing incredibly well, where it really creates its own little closed off corner world of people, within a bigger world of people, where…
- Only God Forgives
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
- Spring Breakers
- A Field in England
- Donnie Darko
- Morvern Callar
- Irma Vep
- Miami Blues
- Babe: Pig in the City
For five years, film critic Scott Tobias compiled "The New Cult Canon" in a regular column for The A.V. Club…
- 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:…