Sunday, May 28, 2006

Brick Review (aka A Rare Night Out At The Movies)

So, last Tuesday night, I made it out to see Brick in the local ‘indie’ theatre. It’s downtown and called the Princess. I’d never been there before, so I ventured out and managed to even find a parking spot right in front of the theatre. Then I managed to catch a show before the show…

A big ol’ coach bus turned down that side street and then the driver proceeded to back it up into a tiny alleyway. Don’t know what he was thinking or why the bus needed to be parked down that alley, but it was quite the scene. A couple local teenagers gathered around and guided him in inch by inch. It was about as close as you could cut it, but he actually got it in there, much to the surprise of those gathered around to watch. We had to applaud when he made it in.

Anyway, on with the show. I went into the theatre and it was rather quaint. There was just one person sitting by a booth where you paid your ticket, then you went up a flight of stairs to the one movie theatre above. They had a small concession stand there, but I bypassed it as usual. (the ticket cost enough). I liked the atmosphere of the place – kind of like a special out of the way place where you went because of the movie and not just some place parents took their kids to shut them up for 2 hours and teenagers hung out to kill time. We weren’t even overrun with commercials. The start time came, the lights went down, they played about 3 or 4 trailers, and then we were into the movie.

And what a movie it was. Brick is a film noir set in a modern high school but using dialogue and language straight out of Chandler or Hammett novels. It takes a bit to catch the rhythm of the speech, but it’s brilliant. I probably missed some of it because of my ears, but I’d probably need to see it again to catch it all anyway. We follow the movie’s main character – Brendan – as he fights the system and goes after the truth of what happened to his ex-girlfriend in a headstrong and bullheaded fashion. You quickly become part of that world through the eyes of Brendan and go along for the ride meeting one interesting character after another.

It’s clearly a low budget movie, but you don’t really notice it thanks to brilliant editing and film making. There are action pieces, but it shows what you can do with imagination and a good story. You don’t need to blow the budget to have good action – you need characters that the audience cares about. You feel the fear as Brendan is confronted by a knife wielding attacker and has to run for his life. Then you want to cheer at his inventive means of survival.

This is a character that is an outsider, but he knows the terrain and he’s smart and determined. He may not know entirely what’s going on, but you quickly understand that once he commits himself to his mission, he won’t quit until he finds the truth or he’s dead. There’s a revealing scene between Brendan and his friend The Brain, as he realizes what he’s up against. He asks The Brain: “Tell me to let it go, to walk away.” To which the Brain replies quickly: “Let it go. Walk away. But you are thick.” It’s a great moment as you watch Brendan move from dealing with the grief and utter sadness of what had happened to his ex, to a steely determination to find the truth – even though he knows it’ll cost him.

The movie is also quite humorous at times. The ‘40’s style of noir speech provides some good one liners, and the setting of teenagers in high school provides some surreal moments. The whole “I thought we had apple juice” sequence is both hilarious and thought-provoking as you wonder how similar that is to real life as parents just see their kid having a snack with their friends and having absolutely no idea what their kids are really up to – in this case, brokering a drug deal.

Overall, the dialogue does take a bit to get used to, but it’s worth it and it’s what makes the movie tick. That, and the great acting from all those involved – especially Joseph Gordon-Levitt who plays Brendan. He’s practically in every scene and carries the movie. Hard to think this is the kid from the cheesy, but funny, sitcom 3rd Rock From The Sun. In the end, I thought it was a brilliant movie that I’ll want to watch again – though I’ll wait for the DVD which I think is coming August 8. If you’re a fan of film noir, it’s a must see. If you just want something original and different, it’s definitely worth checking out.

Comments on "Brick Review (aka A Rare Night Out At The Movies)"


Blogger The Original LRU said ... (May 28, 2006 9:34 PM) : 

Thanks for the review. I had no idea what Brick was about, but it sounds interesting.

Glad you liked the Princess. I liked the old seats they had about 5(?) years ago. These are too bulky and too high. But still a nice quaint theatre.


Anonymous Jesse said ... (February 23, 2007 10:56 PM) : 

great movie - i had it as my #1 film of the year. it is one that doesn't play down to the audience in any way. it says 'keep up cause we aren't slowing down'. because of that you do get a little confused and miss some stuff (at least i did) but i also appreciated the intelligence and trust in me as a member of the audience and i was intrigued and entertained the entire time


Blogger Eaglewing said ... (February 24, 2007 2:25 AM) : 

Hey Jesse, thanks for dropping by. I agree - Brick was #1 of the year for me as well. I like movies that consider their audience intelligent enough to keep up. I was a little confused at first too, but I quickly caught on and it was worth it. Not to mention I got more out of it on a second viewing. Can't wait to see another movie from this director.


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