The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

80° Stony Brook, NY
The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

Newsletter

    Brick

    Brick is an intelligent and thrilling revival of the once popular film noir genre. The film spins the genre in an exciting and original way by taking all of the conventions of the typical 1950s murder mystery and setting it on a high school campus.

    No corners were cut by writer and director Rian Johnson as he reconstructs the familiar aspects of a film noir. The important elements such as dark corners, highbrow glamour, and a soft but unwavering saxophone score are all present, creating the atmosphere in which all of the characters play their parts. And everybody’s here – the heroic but tortured detective, the victim, mob boss, thug, brainy sidekick, and most importantly, the femme fatale.

    And still, lest we forget (which we often do), everyone is seventeen.

    Our tortured soul, the detective, is Brendan, played by the ubiquitous Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The investigation begins when Brendan gets a mysterious call from his ex-girlfriend, Emily (Emilie de Ravin), who has left him to become part of the social circle of heroine junkies. A few days later, he finds her dead, so he takes it upon himself to find out not only who killed her, but why.

    Brendan enlists the help of his friend, The Brian (Matt O’Leary), who helps him to track down the drug circle ring leader, known only as The Pin (Lukas Haas), and his muscle, Tug (Noah Fleiss). Along with the mysterious and untrustworthy Laura (Nora Zehetner), an associate of The Pin, Brendan finds the facts that he needs to solve the mystery of Emily’s death.

    Gordon-Levitt executes the role of Brendan flawlessly. He is a baby-faced detective with an intensity well beyond his years. It is difficult to believe that he is supposed to be a high schooler, given the conflicts he encounters as well as the overwhelming worry that is ever present in his eyes.

    Brick is fascinating because of its self-awareness; all the while, it constantly takes itself seriously. Brendan is a stone-faced detective who isn’t taking any crap from anyone. He gets into more than one fistfight, and always has a greater purpose for doing so. Brendan has a hit taken out on him by an enemy, a badly cut brick of heroin is involved, and so is the fact that Emily is the object of more than just Brendan’s affection.

    All of these are very serious issues, all the while, every one of the characters live in his parents’ house. During Brendan’s first visit to The Pin’s house, his face is covered with bloody bruises, yet The Pin’s mother is serving him cornflakes and apple juice. The conflicting ideas of murder and innocence, self-sufficiency and childhood, are all handled with grace and never feel forced or unnatural.

    The investigation that occupies most of the film’s plot is satisfyingly complex without being obnoxiously over-thought. The mystery’s solution is found with finesse that ties up just enough of Brick‘s loose ends to leave the audience feeling fulfilled without being spoon-fed.

    Leave a Comment
    Donate to The Statesman

    Your donation will support the student journalists of Stony Brook University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The Statesman

    Comments (0)

    All The Statesman Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *