It isn’t really the plot that makes Brick such a good and unnecessarily overlooked film – the film deals with a young man’s search to uncover the real reasons behind the death of his ex-girlfriend – it is how they play the events out.
When ex Emily is murdered for no known reason Brendan, a lank haired slacker looking guy sets out to get to the bottom of things. He is tough (but not muscly or strong), streetwise and fair, but nonetheless determined to get to the truth.
The beauty of the film is that while it features a cast of almost entirely school aged teens (or at least school-aged looking) the events and dialogue are played out in a 50s noir style: hence we have the smalltime kingpin called the Pin donning a ridiculous Count Duckula cape and carrying an elaborate cane, and the “dangerous to know” woman flutters her big eyes and always seems ready to lend a hand.
I daresay if you watched certain sections without the sound up it would look like skinny teens playing dress-ups, especially the Pin…
All clichés are represented, the muscle, the pin-up, the kingpin and the brain – who is even called The Brain in case you get confused.
Everyone is also happy to drink scotch from a decanter – neat. Speaking for my teen years brandy and coke in a can or Southern Comfort put me on my arse, so straight scotch might’ve killed me.
The dialogue is snappy and the wordplay clever, there are no concessions to dumb here so if you can’t keep up still with Vin Diesel films. Everyone talks in the same dispassionate and matter of fact manner with effortless cool, except that is, those that are there to be dangerous and menacing.
The plot isn’t especially labyrinthine and unfolds neatly along the way so there is little point outlining it here aside from what is already said. Suffice to say we learn the significance of the title and exactly who/what and where things happened, along with ultimately why.
On second viewing I found Brick a little less impactful than when I first watched it a few years ago, probably because it was so new and unexpected upon first viewing and this time I knew what I was in for. Regardless of that this is smart and effective filmmaking with a breakout performance from Joseph Gordon-Levitt and a few notable minor roles with no-one obviously out of their depth – even the possible one note “muscle” guy named Tugger (natch) puts in a multi faceted performance.
I liked the film more for what it attempted than what it became, but I still recommend checking out Brick to see someone taking a chance at doing something different to the norm.
Final Rating – 7.5 / 10. Brick is a “little” film that suggests “big things for the future.