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.
I didn't particularly enjoy this film. I know that they were trying to go for a high-school-noir type thing, but I just didn't buy it. It felt ridiculous. The stylised dialogue, therefore was also ridiculous - and a bit grating. Yeah. There were a few moments that worked but they were few and far between. The film looks dull, sounds dull, feels dull. Oh well.
Forget it, Brendan. It's 6th period.
Loved this but feel like I would love it more a second time around
A cool concept that felt a bit gimmicky, but worked? I could definitely see how it strived to be a modern noir, but there’s something about films relying on other films that’s off-putting. At times it seemed unoriginal. Aside from those few problems, it was overall compelling and well shot. The sound design was pretty great. There was some over/cheesy acting, but that happens when you can’t get superstar actors. It was for sure a great effort from a first time director.
second attempt at watching this, since all my movie friends think so highly of it. my impression had not changed: i get the gimmick, but it doesn't get further than that gimmick, for me.
This is what would happen if Veronica Mars went full on Film Noir. Still Rian Johnson's best film.
Rian Johnson's nour-ish directorial debut, which he tried to get studio support for over a number of years and then raised the funds himself through friends and family. The movie doesn't look like it was only made for half a million dollars.
(It also shows the power of persistence if you have the skill to back it up; two more movies later, plus a few episodes of Breaking Bad and short films, and Johnson is now helping pen and directing entries in the Star Wars franchise.)
While Johnson's teenage drama assumes the style and language of a film noir, it never comes off as a parody; it takes itself seriously and can be taken seriously despite some moments of purposeful…
A pastiche of such high order that it shouldn’t be disqualified as an accomplished film noir in its own right. But I imagine this hyperbole has much to do with not having read the Dashiell Hammett stories from which it’s scrupulously drawn.
i hate noah segan so fucking much
For five years, film critic Scott Tobias compiled "The New Cult Canon" in a regular column for The A.V. Club…
Combined the average ratings (Critic's & Users) from IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and Letterboxd, and then weighted and tweaked the results…