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Blast from the Past Movie Review – “Brick” (2005)

January 29, 2012

Last week I had attended the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, more importantly I was a volunteer. It was quite the special time and I’ll be sure to do it again next year. The site was barren for a good 6-7 days, but today I’ve returned with two recent reviews, “Haywire” & “The Grey”, I can see my readers are happy to see those reviews up. But, it’s Sunday and that means it’s time for another Blast from the Past Movie Review, so, in honor of last weeks Sundance adventure I thought it would be appropriate to do a Sundance flick for this review and I’ve decided with writer/director Rian Johnson’s 2005 indie noir, “Brick”.

High school loner Brendan (Joesph Gordon-Levitt) finds his former girlfriend Emily (Emilie de Ravin) dead in the entrance of a tunnel of sewage. At the scene of the crime Brendan recalls her phone call two days ago, when she said to him that she was in trouble. Brendan, who still loved Emily, met bad elements of his high-school trying to contact her, and when he succeeded, she told him that she was ‘OK’. He hides her body in the tunnel and decides to investigate the meaning and connection of four words, more importantly these two: ‘brick’ & ‘pin’. Solving the mystery of ‘brick’ & ‘pin’ will lead Brendan down a rabbit hole of sex, lies, & drugs, all converging on top of one another, revealing Emily’s killer, and what she got herself into.

“Brick” is probably my #1 favorite Sundance movie ever made, much like “Memento”, I consider “Brick” to be the near perfect neo-noir. Mainly because of it’s odd approach to the neo-noir genre. While it remains similar to other neo-noirs in style and asthetics, the language is from another time all together. [Rian] Johnson has written the dialogue for his characters as if he were writing a film noir from the 1940s; think “Double Indemnity” or “Kiss Me Deadly”. The characters in the film, all modern day high schools mind you, talk like 40’s hard boiled detectives, sleezy villains, & seductive femme fatales. This approach is so genius, it makes me wonder why this hasn’t been done before, prior to the release of this film.

Rian Johnson’s film is a multi-layered mystery that revolves around a lot of the audience attention, much like Gordon-Levitt’s character, Brendan, we’re also on the case trying to solve the mystery of Emily, ‘brick’, and ‘pin’. The end results will surely churn many viewers stomachs, but for that reason I love the movie all the more. “Brick” has the elements of a classic film noir story and then turns it right on it’s own head. Props to Johnson for that.

There’s some great cinematography and a wonderous chilling score by composer Nathan Johnson, Rian’s cousin. A major recommendation comes from me to you. “Brick” is a unique film, with clever writing, sometimes blackly funny characters, and fantastic lead. Joesph Gordon-Levitt is all the rage in this day and age, in this film, he’ll have you in the palm of his hand. Love “Brick”, LOVE IT!

GRADE: A

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