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A detective story.  

Year: 2005 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Brick

Director: Rian Johnson

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Nora Zehetner, Lukas Haas, Matt O'Leary, Noah Fleiss

Inspired by early 1930s hard-boiled crime novels, Brick transposes the attitudes and dialogues of classic detective fiction to a modern Southern California high school. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Brendan, a loner student and the hero or foil of this neo-noir piece, out to find the killer of his ex-girlfriend, Emily (Emile De Ravin), who called him earlier for help from an isolated phone booth. With the help of his know-it-all friend, The Brain (O'Leary), he traces her steps back to a high school drug ring, and to a plan to steal a "brick" of heroin from a local dealer called The Pin (Haas).

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has come a long way since his appearances as Tommy Solomon in TV sitcom Third Rock From The Sun, and plays Brendan with a wonderfully dry and witty delivery. He is ably supported by Matt O'Leary as enigmatic The Brain, and the brilliant pairing of Lukas Haas as the softly spoken villain and Noah Fleiss as his tough-guy right-hand man, Tugger. First time writer and director Rian Johnson holds true to the genre; the labyrinth plot is never clear while it unfolds, and uses interactions between multiple parties to great effect. Johnson also made the crucial decision to play it straight; the characters aren't pretending but really living out their roles. This is further emphasised by all the actors adopting the hip lingo and behaviour of 1930s film noir with sincerity and vigour. There are also some brilliant parallels; the high school principal tries to contain Brendan as a police chief once would, a mix of hip girls play the tough dames, and the eccentric crime boss is played by, well, the eccentric crime boss, albeit one who still lives with his mother. Brick is an enjoyable, brilliant twist on the high school movie; full of abrasive encounters, wisecracking dialogue and a beautiful and too-hip-for-school cast, which makes it definitely worth seeing!

Alex Coe

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Screenings of this film:

2006/2007 Autumn Term (35mm)
2006/2007 Autumn Term (35mm)