Brick Movie Review
A murder mystery with a high school twist, "Brick" is no laughable teen thriller. From Rian Johnson, the man who brought you "Evil Demon Golfballs from Hell!!!" (never seen it, but it sounds intriguing), comes a serious, smart and captivating thriller that leaves you guessing, both about what's going to happen next and what the hell is going on.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, best known as one of the stars of "3rd Rock from the Sun," plays Brendan, a modern day loser, who, despite his quiet nature, is smart, cunning and determined. After he finds the love of his life dead in a sewer, he sets out to find the killer. The police are of no use, so he immerses himself in a world of the rich and the dangerous, the gangsters and the wannabes. As he becomes more involved in the lives of the people who may have been responsible for the murder, is he losing focus or working toward something no one can see?
"Brick" is unique in many ways. While all of the characters are in high school, the movie is not a high school movie. In fact, it is a hard core detective movie simply transferred into a high school setting. Gordon-Levitt's protagonist is a dark, to-the-point and cunning version of Columbo. The idea here is that he is not some smart kid who starts figuring out things on his lunch break; he really is a detective, except that he isn't really. Director Rian Johnson has successfully merged the detective genre into a high school setting to make something entirely new.
Aside from concept, the movie is also beautifully-directed, featuring crazy yet not overwhelming camera angles, tricks and powerful sequences. Johnson builds a high level of suspense that continues from the first second to the last, and his ability to keep us guessing is impressive.
Of course, if you stop paying attention even for a minute you may get lost, and even if you do pay attention the entire time... you still may get lost. There are a lot of characters and their exact involvement in everything gets rather confusing, but if you're smart you should be able to at least piece things together somewhat.
A well-directed, smartly-written thriller with a unique twist on a classic genre, "Brick" is well worth the ride. This is one of the smartest movies of the year.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.