Brick (2005)

Director: Rian Johnson
Writer: Rian Johnson
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Nora Zehetner, Lukas Haas, Noah Fleiss, Matt O’Leary, Emilie de Ravin, Noah Segan, Richard Roundtree, Meagan Good
Seen on 08.03.2015

A couple of days ago, Brendan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) received a phone call from his ex-girlfriend Emily (Emilie de Ravin), now he only finds her dead body. He decides to dive into the underbelly of his high school and figure out what happened to Emily. But as he starts his investigation, with the help of his class mate Brain (Matt O’Leary), Brendan quickly realizes that Emily was deeply involved with the high school drug trade, especially The Pin (Lukas Haas). And then things start to get dangerous for Brendan.

Brick is a classic noir detective story transplanted to a high school. It’s a concept that has a lot going for it and that shows a very nice, dry sense of humor. But it couldn’t quite get past my lack of love for that genre.


Every once in a while there are noir stories that I love (Blacksad comes to mind, for example) and I was hoping that Brick would be one of those instances – I rather liked both other films by Rian Johnson I have seen and I adore Joseph Gordon-Levitt, so the chances were good, in particular with the added twist of having it all set in a high school.

But even though there were moments were that setting works perfectly as parody – the scene, for example, where the big bad’s mom makes sure that everybody has orange juice while the teens stare at each other intensely, or the scene where Brendan reports to “the brass” – the vice principal of the high school. It’s funny and it’s a nice commentary about the genre itself.

brick1But for the most part the film stuck too much with the formula to sit right with me, it played the story too straight. And those convoluted noir stories that only make a very limited amount of sense are just not my cup of tea. And don’t get me started on the neat little categorization of women who are either femmes fatales or victims, but certainly mysterious (at least there are women in the story, not like in The Secret Service).

I guess not everything can work out according to its potential. It’s a pity that Brick didn’t, even though there are moments where the film that could have been shines through.

brick2Summarizing: Not my thing.

2 thoughts on “Brick (2005)

  1. I personally rate this movie very highly, but of course I like film noir in general! I thought it achieved very well in what it set out to do — which was, as you say, to make a movie that was a genuine neonoir despite its highschool setting. For me, it delivered far more than I’d anticipated it would.

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