Saturday, May 12, 2007


Brick. DVD; from library.

The Plot: Brendan's ex-girlfriend, Emily, contacts him -- she needs his help. Brendan cannot say no . . . and finds himself unraveling a mystery that involves rich kids, drugs, a mysterious crime king pin, and a murder.

The Good: This is a modern high school setting -- but nothing is what it appears. Brendan is a loner; but there is more to his story and more to him. At first he seems to be a high school outsider, but as he calls in contacts, makes connections, and gets deeper and deeper into the world that Emily was part of, it becomes clear that there is more to Brendan than the boy who eats lunch by himself.

This is not a Blue Velvet film, where the innocent boy gets in over his head; Brendan is not naive; he is not innocent; he is well aware of the evils and complications of the world he is investigating. Just like Veronica Mars is smarter than me -- so is Brendan.

I had heard this described as a detective story set in high school, a film noir tale, and thought, huh, Veronica Mars. And yes, like Veronica, Brendan is smart, aware of his world, but unlike Veronica Mars, this isn't a "high school" story despite it's setting. Adults and class rooms barely make an appearance; the teens act with the freedom of adults; and talk in the lingo of 1940s films.

At first, I was thrown by the language and delivery; it's used as teen slang; but it placed the story on a more serious level. I took the characters more seriously. And viewed them as older.... I think it was a deliberate casting choice that the actors playing teens are all in their 20s, adding to the gravity of the story line. (Actually, and weirdly, the teens acting like adults and tough guy talk reminded me of Bugsy Malone. But seriously, Bugsy is a light hearted musical, and this is a hardboiled crime story.)

What else? Joseph Gordon-Levitt is one good looking guy. I knew him from his roles in 3rd Rock From The Sun and Ten Things I Hate About You. The boy has grown up quite nicely. He's one blockbuster away from being the next Orlando Bloom or Heath Ledger.

Finally ... this is the type of movie that demands you watch it again. And again. And again.


Robin Brande said...

Oh, Liz, I totally loved this movie. I'm glad to see you giving it the shout out. Maybe more and more people will see it. It's so stylish and clever--didn't you love the full standing lamp inside the van? All these fun details.

And I agree with you about Joseph Gordon-Levitt. What a cutie.

Liz B said...

The lamp was great. And The Pin's mom serving cornflakes? Another great bit.

Anonymous said...

I loved The Pin's mom. And I love it that little Lukas Haas still looks Exactly The Same. Loved the language, loved the clothing, loved the sets, loved the movie.

Andrew Karre said...

This movie was a thousand kinds of wonderful. The breathlessly inventive use of language in the script reminded me immediately of A Clockwork Ornage and FEED. Excellent company, in my book.

His handling of adults (both of them) was also perfect. I loved especially that the only adult who ever showed up at the school was Richard Roundtree. Vice principal Shaft? How cool is that?