Brick (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner10/05/2006

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 110 mins

Original, offbeat tale that blends hard-boiled film noir with the teen movie and features a typically strong performance from Gordon-Levitt.

What’s it all about?
First time writer-director Rian Johnson has come up with a terrific concept for his debut feature – a high school film noir movie, in which all the characters speak in clipped, hard-boiled phrases that are straight out of a Dashiell Hammett novel.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Brendan, a teenage loner who investigates the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend (Lost’s Emilie de Ravin) and finds himself embroiled in a case involving femme fatales (Nora Zehetner, Meagan Good), drugs, thugs and a shadowy figure known as The Pin (Lukas Haas).

The Good
The characters are superbly drawn, skilfully blending both film noir archetypes and familiar teen movie staples – Brendan’s informant is known as The Brain (Matt O’Leary) and is clearly one of the school geeks, while trampy showgirl Kara (Good) is a singer and dancer in the school play.

Gordon-Levitt is superb in the lead, giving a tight-lipped, deadpan performance that Sam Spade would be proud of. There are also some superb scenes here – Johnson peppers the film with flashes of violence and moments of quirky humour, which contribute strongly to the consistently surprising nature of the film.

The Bad
It’s probably fair to say that Brick won’t appeal to everyone - the slang-laden dialogue and pared-down directorial style take some getting used to and you’ll either go along for the ride or be left wondering just what the hell’s going on.

In addition, the film is about 15 minutes too long and drags considerably around the middle section, before pulling it all together for an enjoyable finale.

Worth seeing?
In short, Brick is a fascinating experiment that doesn’t always work but is definitely worth seeing. Recommended.

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Brick (15)
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Content updated: 22/10/2017 00:23

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