After receiving a panic-stricken phone call from his ex-girlfriend Emily (de Ravin) - just before she turns up dead - high-school loner Brendan (Gordon-Levitt, after his brilliant turn in last year's 'Mysterious Skin') sets out to infiltrate the illicit cliques she left him for. Brendan becomes embroiled in the web of vice & deceit that surrounds Emily's murder.... More

LA Weekly: "A fusion of teenage confidential and hard-boiled film noir set in the mean corridors and power cliques of high school. The existentialist vibe of film noir becomes a perfect metaphor for the twin evils of malice and alienation at high school." Or, as the NY Times put it: "the milieu of 'Beverly Hills 90210' and 'The OC' goes noir".Hide

Flicks Review

Hugely stylised, this comic book, teenage noir will reaffirm lost credit to the under twenty-five acting set. Think Hammett or Chandler at a high-school. Emily (Emily de Ravin) is the core of the mystery, disappearing early on, leaving only a few enigmatic clues within the dark corners of suburban America. Brendan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), serves as the amateur dick, solving the mystery with a straight faced, deadpan delivery and poetic dialogue, “Let’s shake this tree and see what falls”. Reminiscent of the tv shows of my youth, this world exists completely around the teenagers, adults serve as comic and stylised stand-ins for the presence of authority and nothing more. The character of the teenage drug lord’s mother is whittled down to an country style apple juice pouring caricature, despite the rampant teenage sex, drugs and gun warfare taking place in her son’s room.

Within the drama there are some great noir troupes, amusingly played out in the teenage world of high school, mum’s basement and the local hangouts. Gordon-Levitt performs some great escapes from the ever present bad guys, and some even better failed attempts, confronting the scum of the school, with his dry humor and quick wittedness, one drop kick at a time, “Throw one at me if you want, hash head. I've got all five senses and I slept last night, that puts me six up on the lot of you.”

However, the genre adaptation doesn’t quite pull itself off. The Pin (Lukas Haas), the crippled, dug lord, constantly appearing from the lowest, low angle possible, pulls off beautifully the bad-guy-who-can’t-pick-the-good-guy-posing-as-a-bad-guy-only-to-betray-him character. And yet, the femme fatale Laura (Nora Zehetner) never seems that great a threat, with several half hearted attempts to seduce the mystery focused Brendan, but lacking the vamp needed to ruin a man.

Despite a few flaws, ‘Brick’ offers a glimpse into a beautifully constructed absorbing world of the underbelly of high school, retrieving the teenage genre flick from the depths of bad cinema.

[By S.F.]

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 7 ratings, 7 reviews
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Don't be fooled into thinking this is a good film because of some outrageous reviews. It tries too hard and above all bored the hell out of me.

This is one of the best films I have ever seen. It is a wonderful debut and Joseph Gordon-Levitt deserves much praise for his role.

This movie takes the viewer back to high school. It looks at the serious side iof high school drug intrigue that some of us lived. It is a little over the top but maybe it has to be! The ending is a nice twist that brings it all together. The hidden star is the muscle that brings pain and drama to the other characters who are the strong silent type. You will not be dissappointed with brick but you may miss the old days of youthful indescretion!

I really enjoyed this film. Loved the fast-paced and clever dialogue. Loved Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the anti-hero and thought the supporting actors were just as good. The story kept me engaged and I recommend it.

Definitely saw it as a tribute to the Maltese Falcon which is how it has been described.

The so-called patois was just lame and after a while I began to wonder if the plot was incoherent or that I just didn't care. Both. Nothing to empathise with in the characters and the "plot" stuttered from one dead end to the next. Then the protagonists stopped at the end to explain the whole mess to us. Not that I cared. Your movie ticket could be 3 pints. Think very carefully. No stars (actually)

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The Press Reviews

80% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • BBC

    With his low-budget debut Brick, director Rian Johnson deconstructs traditional film noir and rebuilds it in a modern landscape. Gone are the trilby-donning tough guys in dark alleys in favour of grungy teens sloping through the halls of a California high school. Thankfully though this isn't just another teen movie with Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing it straight as the amateur private dick. The story lacks a memorable sucker punch at the end, but it's tough not to like for sheer guts... Full Review

  • With a superb lead turn by rising star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Johnson's debut is a smart, original neo-noir that works as an ingenious mindgame as well as a slick Hollywood calling card... Full Review

  • 1/2 With brilliant dialogue out of the 1940s and graceful visuals that add depth to the dark comedy, Johnson debuts with a smart, self-assured feature that portrays adolescence like no other film has... Full Review

  • A flashy cinematic stunt perpetrated by Rian Johnson, dispenses with the adolescent gibberish of the here and now to graft the hard-boiled art of Dashiell Hammett onto an upscale Southern California high school: the milieu of "Beverly Hills 90210" and "The O.C." goes noir... Full Review

  • Brick keeps its hip wits about it long enough to show that high school noir is the new black... Full Review

  • The hair may thin considerably under Brick's hat after a while, and Hammett redone remains Hammett half done, but while the plates are in the air, it's a spectacle of nerve... Full Review