A different type of gimmick.
When a secret crush turns up dead and the murderer is anyone’s guess, teenage loner Brendan Fry (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is forced to navigate his school’s social network through intense interactions with thespians, band geeks and druggies (including a grown-up Lukas Haas).
The film has all the elements of a noir: dark atmosphere, creepy score, and haunting visuals, but the twist here is that its set in a 21st century high school.
In my opinion this film has one of the best writing-directing debuts of all time from Rian Johnson. The screenplay is just filled with so much humor, bleakness, and so much mystery, that it almost all feels to realistic. You watch those old noir films and you will realize that nobody else really talks like they do, and in this film, you get the sense of how real people talk in this, especially with all their hipster dialogue. Some of the parts in this film are actually tongue-in-cheek, and I liked that separation from old noirs mostly. The direction from Johnson is very inspired, because there are so many parts where this film could have just did the cliche route of being too corny, and obvious, but instead delves more into its plot and how much its characters become even more rich.
The one problem I had with this film was the handling of the ending, and its message. The end could have been set up so well, and so intriguing but it only goes for the slow ending and a not very effective one to say the least.
Brick has one of the best protagonists in a film played by the great Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The reason why this person is so great is because we step into the movie having no idea who he is other than just your typical loner at school, but as the film progresses we get to see him as a person more and more, who will stop at nothing to find the truth. Gordon-Levitt is what you would call your anti-hero, because he doesn’t strive to be great, he just is crazy and your everyday person, and that’s what makes him great. I also liked Lukas Haas as “The Pin” who plays a wonderful parody on the old mobster leaders, from those films, and probably gives one of the best supporting performances.
Consensus: Brick is short of an effective ending, and has the look, touch, and feel of a noir, but with a twist, great writing and direction, and a superbly acted cast.