Brick – 4 out of 5
The story of Brick starts out at 6 am, the day after Christmas. Our protagonist puts some clothes on in the dark and proceeds to complain about how cold his car seat is. With deep sorrow and sadness, he ventures to his girlfriend’s apartment and finds her balled up on the couch, unprepared emotionally for what is about to happen to them…Wait, this doesn’t happen in the movie at all. Actually, I’m summing up what happens in the Ben Folds Five song of the same name. My mistake.
|"Actually, I don't really care for scary movies, Creepy Voice Person on the Other End."|
Actually, Brick is a 2005 detective noir crime thriller set in the modern era and with high school students. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Brendan whose ex-girlfriend Emily (Emilie de Ravin) suddenly disappears. He received a strange phone call from her with a cryptic message about a “brick” and “poor Fresco” along with references to something called “tug” and “the Pin.” Brendan makes it his mission to figure out what’s going on and begins to investigate where Emily is and what is happening.
|Three people on set died when the sun peered from behind him and created a |
Death Star like laser beam when it went through those lens.
What makes Brick unique is the fact that it is a call back to the old detective crime stories of a wise talking private dick hired by some classy dame to get to the heart of some problem. Only Brick takes place in a boring suburb community with a hidden world of drugs and our detective is a high school student…and no classy dame in a sequin dress hires him. However, the odd, slang-filled dialogue that became synonymous with such noir thrillers remains. Sure, the dialogue is strange and not indicative of how actually people talk but it gives the film an other-worldly feel and makes the overall film seem almost dream-like--an effect only amplified by the amazing visual work with the camera and editing. Also, at least the dialogue isn’t pretentious crap like Diablo Cody would write!
|Is Bohemian Rhapsody about to start?|
Director/writer Rian Johnson made something truly unique with this movie--especially when you boil the story down and find that it really isn’t as complicated as most crime dramas go. There’s actually no great mystery going on with the disappearance of Brendan’s ex-girlfriend Emily and when it’s revealed what happened to her, it’s not earth-shattering or something that hasn’t been done before. However, what Johnson did to make this simple story amazing (other than incredible dialogue) is the inventive camera work and tight, somehow controlled chaotic editing. The strange, sometimes unflattering camera angles and minute editing within a static shot only further pushes the alternate reality feel the movie has going for it and is able to make the simplistic story seem more complicated than it really is…and that’s pretty freaking amazing.
|I see up your nose...see, I told you many of the camera angles weren't flattering.|
This is the booger shot.
Of course, we can’t talk about a movie that has Joseph Gordon-Levitt and NOT talk about his acting because, let’s face it, that man is freaking talented. Who knew the little long haired kid from Third Rock from the Sun would end up making movies and every role he takes his bitch? And this 2005 film is no exception. I honestly think that JGL isn’t actually human at all but rather a demi-god of some sort because no mortal should be able to contain such a level of talent.
It’s been a few years since I’ve watched Brick and, even on its second viewing (maybe third, I don’t really keep count on how many times I watch movies…except The Empire Strikes Back--exactly 3, 245 times) the film holds up. Yes, I know the ending at this point and know how the story moves but thanks to a great director, killer dialogue and Joseph Gordon-Levitt kicking ass and taking names in his performance, it still feels like the first time I watched this movie.