Director: Rian Johnson
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emilie de Ravin, Nora Zehetner, Lukas Haas & Noah Fleiss
A true film noir using a California high school as the backdrop, Brick can be a huge surprise to the modern audience. Despite the age of all the characters in the plot, this film is not a parody of the genre. It is a film noir through and through.
After Brendan, a loner at his school, receives a cryptic phone call from his ex-girlfriend Emily, he soon finds her body lying at the entrance to a secluded tunnel. With the help of an extremely intelligent student known only as The Brain, Brendan is out to find Emily's killer. Throughout his hunt, he becomes involved with the towns most nefarious drug lord known as The Pin; Kara, the school's biggest drama queen; Laura, the social butterfly; and Brad, the self-proclaimed greatest athlete in the school. When the film unravels itself, you're guaranteed a surprise that'll leave you dumbfounded.
The cinematography of the film, with its odd camera angles and zoomed in shots, are often compared to Donnie Darko. The score by Nathan Johnson is thoroughly a modern jazz, which strengthens the film's ties with the classic film noir. All the actors deserve praise for this film, and many of them have had continued success since, making appearances in today's most popular TV shows such as Lost, Heroes, 24, and Entourage.
I have to admit, I was completely clueless as to what happened by the end of this film. My excuse for this is that I was not expecting this film to be as serious as it is. I've straightened myself out with the plot, and it really is some fantastic writing with great twists along the way. So, I warn you all now - pay attention to this film, because it is not a high school-oriented film.
Fun Trivia (Stolen from IMDB):
- The horn signal Brendan instructs Laura to give him (long, short, long, short) is the same as the doorbell signal Sam Spade tells Brigid O'Shaughnessy he'll use in The Maltese Falcon (1941). Brendan's earlier line to Laura, "Now you are dangerous," is taken from the film as well.
- The film makers had filmed a version of the film scene with the playing field all muddy and damaged. When they came back to film more of the scene they discovered that the school had refurbished the field and it was now perfect and bright green. That's why most of the shots in the scene are angled upwards to hide the field from view.
- According to the review in "The New Yorker", this film was edited on a home computer.