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.
A very odd/interesting film that was not at all what I was expecting. It's a weird idea but the film completely ran with it and most importantly, pulled it off.
Fun cast of characters and the girl who played Kara was absolutely gorgeous!
A very strange little film. I definitely liked it, and was carried along by the plot, but seriously why do these modern day high school students talk like The Maltese Falcon as written by James Ellroy? Slightly off-putting. Still, good work from JG-L.
A Film Noir classic for the modern age.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is fantastic as the modern day reincarnation of the classic detectives of the golden age of Noir. Everything about this film is a deliberate throw back to these old world films and for the most part it works well.
Worth watching for sure.
Rian Johnson's first film was a gem. Who could ever spend six years of their life trying to get $500k in funding for a film that mixes film noir and high school.
Johnson took a chance by casting Joseph Gordon-Levitt, I think it took courage on both their parts to do the movie, and both benefited not only in terms of this movie, but I also think this movie was the break-out movie for both. Gordon-Levitt is incredible, his portrayal of a single-minded, fearless, high school underachiever that lives his life to a certain code is mesmerizing.
The world that Johnson creates is amazingly vivid: the different factions (from theater to sporties to druggies), the lack of authority (there are…
Quite a creative low budget film noir, a bit on the campy side (a table lamp in a car, really?), but that's part of its charm. Good performance from JGL.
In basketball a brick is a shot that is so poorly executed that it banks off the backboard or rim with great force, often creating a loud thud or clang. It is through this lens that Brick is an aptly titled film. Not sure exactly what this film is supposed to be, but it is poorly executed. This is a difficult one to get through. I never cared about any of the characters. I was happy that the film was nearly over and then looked and it was not even half over. That's how slow this film moves. One of the worst films I've seen in quite some time.
I went into Brick having heard nothing but great things. That's far from the ideal way to watch something and I'm sure it didn't help my feeling underwhelmed. I appreciated the way Rian Johnson incorporated noir elements into a high school setting in such a blatant fashion. It certainly made Brick unique, but I never connected with the story enough to care.
intricate as fuq
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For five years, film critic Scott Tobias compiled "The New Cult Canon" in a regular column for The A.V. Club…
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