BRICK [2005] short review

 Posted by on June 26, 2012  A-Z Index, Mystery
Jun 262012
 

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Directed by:
Written by:
Starring: , , ,

High school student Brendan Frye is living a lonely existence after breaking up with his girlfriend Emily Kostich and betraying his friend Jerr to the authorities. He receives a phone call from a terrified Emily.  She begs him to help her, mentioning a “brick,” “poor Frisco,” and “the Pin” before abruptly and fearfully hanging up. Her fear appears to have been due to a passing car, from which a distinctive-looking cigarette was thrown. Brendan starts searching for Emily and is eventually able to arrange a meeting through Dode, leader of a stoner clique that Emily now belongs to. When they meet, Emily recants what she said on the phone and tells Brendan he needs to let her go. Brendan steals her notepad during the encounter, where he finds a clue that leads him to a culvert where he finds her dead body………

Brick seems to be one of those films that you have to love, and if you don’t, you’re either thick or have no taste.   Well, I’m going to say it here, Brick is a tedious, ridiculous and irritating picture, a Dashiel Hammett or Raymond Chandler [writers of hardboiled detective tales whose stories were often filmed] imitation made and acted by a bunch of students who don’t seem to know what they’re doing.  The college setting just doesn’t work for the story and the 40’s style dialogue just feels awkward coming out of the mouths of high school folk.  The direction veers between random stylistics and visual references to the likes of Chinatown, while the use of archetypal film noir characters just made me wish I was watching the real deal. The performances range from fairly good [Lucas Haas] to changeable [star Joseph Gordon-Levitt who only seems to come into his own towards the end] to abysmal [Noah Zehetner].  There are some very well composed shots, while parts of the story are well worked out, but little makes any kind of sense and occasional bursts of fisticuffs and chasing around don’t atone for the overall dullness and seem out of place anyway. Nathan Johnson’s eclectic score is more annoying than effective and is absurdly overused in the first half.  I can’t believe how overpraised this film is.  If you want to watch a good neo-noir picture, check out The Usual Suspects, The Long Goodbye, Night Moves or L.A.Confidential: in fact a whole load of other movies besides this misconceived pastiche.  Hammett and Chandler must be rolling in their graves.

Rating: ★★★½☆☆☆☆☆☆

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