movies, music and everything else

This blog is about pretty much what the title implies... movies, music and everything else.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

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Friday, March 31, 2006


Brendan crouches low to the ground, staring at the body of his dead girlfriend, Emily. Who did it? Who killed her? What was Emily caught up in? He doesn’t know, but he is going to do whatever he has to do to find the answers. Brandon might not be able to save Emily, but he can uncover the truth and “break some teeth” in the process.

BRICK is a film noir to its very bones. There are several things that contribute to this…

Writer/director Rain Johnson creates a language for his characters that puts you in their world. A few examples…
Blow – “to leave, depart”
Bulls – “cops”
Burg – “town, city”
Duck Soup – “easy pickings”
Heel – “to walk away from”
I could go on and on, but listening to it is half of the fun. It didn’t take me long before I not only caught on, but really embraced the language. This way of speaking and the rapid fire in which it is delivered brings you back to the classic film noirs of Bogart and the novels of Dashiell Hammitt and Raymond Chandler. Don’t let the cadence or the words throw you. Try and keep an open mind and it will help you disappear into this fascinating world.

Another thing that makes BRICK noir and truly original is the characters. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Brendan and he is our Bogart. He is tough as nails, clean, but not squeaky, smarter than most and persistent to a fault. Gordon-Levitt is great in this film as our guide to this world. Brendan is a great character, and is brought to life with all of his subtleties and complex emotions burried just below the surface. He is a loner and stoic. Also in true film noir style, he has the habit of falling for the wrong kind of girl.

Emily (played by Emilie de Ravin of LOST) got him into all of this trouble by getting herself killed. To say that Emily had issues would be an understatement, but Brendan loved her and nothing will stop him from finding out what really happened to her. Emily is not in the movie much, but in the few scenes with her and Brendan, we get a look at the power that she has over him and how that power is strong enough to drive his actions after her death.

The femme fatale of BRICK is Laura (Nora Zehetner). She is sexy, sultry and all kinds of trouble. Needless to say, Brendan is interested in her. Laura might be the smartest person in the movie. You see that as soon as you meet her. She seems to have every man in the movie wrapped around her finger. Everyone except our hero, Brendan. After Laura has helped Brendan, he responds by saying, “Now I trust you less than I did when I didn’t trust you at all.” While you are almost certain that Laura is bad news, you want to be near her. She is a great femme fatale.

The other main character is that of the boss. The crime under lord. The Pin (Lukas Haas) is something of a myth in the town. People talk of him, but no one seems to have ever actually met him. He is where Brendan must go to get the answers he is looking for. He runs the town and everything that goes on underneath the surface.

The last thing that makes this film a true noir is the story. There is murder, double crossing, seduction, fisticuffs, and twists and turns. I won’t get into the details because that is most of the fun, but it is a true film noir.

One thing that I have left out until now is that all of this is set in the world of a public high school. Now this is not the high school of 90210 or THE OC. It is not the high school of real life either. The world presented in BRICK is altogether different. This is the world of Bogart, but in this case, Bogart is seventeen years old. When you are in high school, every problem is one that feels like the most important in the world. A matter of life and death. Since this is a noir through the eyes of high schoolers, the events that Brendan is dealing with is exactly that… a matter of life and death. This is a surreal world, not a real one. Ultra stylized and hyper sensitive.

BRICK is the first film from writer/director/editor Rain Johnson and it is a bold debut. This is a tricky film and one single misstep could leave it laughable. He really pulls it off. The characters are cool, the dialogue sharp and the story twisty and engaging, but not overly so. This is a great films film and one of the best films that I have seen all year. If the final product wasn’t enough, this movie was shot in 20 days, cut on a home computer and made for a total budget of less than $500,000.

Whether you are a fan of noir or just looking for an entertaining and original time at the movies, I strongly recommend checking this one out.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

thx for the update - love including books
from PV AZ

1:56 PM  

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