Brick (2005)

Cult hit or overrated?

Paying homage to noir flicks of the 40's, Brick tells the tale of Brendan Frye (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who gets a call from Emily Kostich (Emile de Ravin), the ex-girlfriend he hasn't seen in two months, asking for help. Wanting to make sure she is okay, Brendan searches for her, eventually finding her, where she pleads for him to leave her alone. The next day, he finds Emily's dead body, and decides to find not only the murder, but the mastermind behind the murderer.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a tremendous job in the leading role, proving once more why he is such a brilliant actor as he perfectly pulls off the character of Brendan. What I like about Brendan is how, despite his typical look, he's not the typical weakling character you'd assume, but in fact, paying more homage to noir, is a fearless character who won't give up easily. He especially does well when it comes to confrontation, as he keeps on getting up after being knocked down a numerous amount of times, and is able to put up a good fight when necessary.

The Brain was there to serve as Brendan's partner in solving this mystery, but I felt like the friendship between Brain and Brendan wasn't really believable, instead Brain seemed to serve as not much more than a person to get answers to Brendan, and it didn't help how there wasn't much of a personality to The Brain. I do find it odd how a high school student knew as much as he did, but when he's known as The Brain, I suppose you do have to emphasize how smart a character he is.

"Gee Brain, what are we going to do today?"
"The same thing we do every night, Pinky, try to solve a murder"

Rian Johnson's direction was very different and quite interesting to behold, what with the jump cuts, sudden zooms into characters and fades to represent passing time, I quite liked Johnson's direction, and would very much like to see his direction on other films.

The film pays homage to detective flicks in many ways, with Brendan reporting to his VP like a detective would report to the chief of police, and being the typical detective who won't stop at nothing to get the end and see the whole picture. The dialogue pays homage to the detective films, which leaves me at a disadvantage as I am not an avid watcher of detective films, which meant a lot of the dialogue was difficult to decipher and ended up going over my head, leaving me out of the loop as to many of Brendan's motivations.

I did not buy Laura's attraction for Brendan. Don't get me wrong, the two definitely had chemistry, but Laura just left me feeling like she was playing him all along. I also felt like the film ran on longer than it should have, and it didn't help to infodump everything at the end, it was like Gordon-Levitt barely had any time to breath after that.

For all the acclaim i'd heard of Brick, when I finally saw this film it left me a bit disappointed. But despite all the negatives, Joseph Gordon-Levitt gave an utterly tremendous performance as a very strong character and the constant homage to the detective noir films was solid. While not the masterpiece all the hype led me to believe it to be, Brick is still a film worth a viewing.


Sara C said…
Really great review James! I'm really interested in seeing this. It sounds really good and like Levitt once again delivers! Keep up the good work!
James Rodrigues said…
@Sara C one of the things i've learnt this year is Levitt delivers 95% of the time, G.I. Joe was in the 5%. Cheers for the kind words
Sara C said…
Yeah, I've been learning the same thing. Although, I'm fortunate enough not to have come across one of his lesser films yet! Anytime :)
Anonymous said…
I tried watching this, but just couldn't connect to it at all and actually turned it off, which rarely happens. No surprise when I say I didn't like this at all!
James Rodrigues said…
@Sara C well in that case, i'd recommend avoiding G.I. Joe Fair enough, after initially watching this my mind was on giving it a rating berween 3.5 and 2.5, I can see why a person would be turned off by this
HarleyQuinn said…
This has been recommended to me several times but for some reason I haven't gotten to it yet. I guess I'll have to get on that.