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Brick (2005)

Directed & Written by Rian Johnson

 In 2005 there were two releases that carried a great throwback feel to detective noir films and were able to capture all things brilliant in the realm of dark, artful and often comedic moments of such movies. Kiss, Kiss Bang, Bang which was a really notable film with two great leading men. But we’ll discuss more on the topic of Brick which was equally as impressive though in its own light. Having not been released until 2005 Rian Johnson, the films writer/director had first wrote the screenplay back in 1997. Which happens with a lot of great films so maybe it’s a good thing that they’re forced to wait.

      The Story follows Brendan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) whose journey begins when he finds ex girlfriend Emily (Emilie de Ravin) deceased by a tunnel that was a regular hangout for the popular crowd. The same crowd she ditched Brendan for. The actual movie picking up two days prior when Emily tries contacting him to ask for help, stating that she somehow messed up. When he is able to get ahold of her is pushed away asking to just forget about what she had asked. Given the nice prelude in the beginning however, we already know how that turns out.

      He soon prepares for a journey in which looking back doesn’t become an option. Brendan works his way in with the “Upper-Crust” with help from “The Brain” played by Matt O’Leary. The two sharing a fast paced, intelligent and alluring dialogue that transfixed your attention right from the start. The film also carried that interchange throughout, making it easily Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s best film to date however not just solely for his presentation of words. For the overall presence that Gordon-Levitt brought as an actor. An intelligent, heartbroken on edge and hell-bent on discovering the truth. He made for a superb leading man and definitely deserves more roles as such. Matt O’Leary made a nice transition from Spy Kid in guiding Levitt’s character in finding the truth behind Emily’s death. Working as the middle man between him and all the hearsay going on within the school.

       No time is wasted in receiving as much information needed from the in crowd, Brendan finding his in with Laura (Nora Zehetner). Laura’s the pretty average popular rich girl involved with the popular jock who works closely with the major drug pin in their town. (That’s pretty average right?) Though this rich girl is also playing everyone as best as she can while trying to run things her own way of which Brendan sees right through. To be honest, you would have to be pretty dense not to. The Pin was played by Lukas Haas, for anyone who had forgotten, he previously played Richie in Mars Attacks! It was him and his grandmother that end up saving everyone because of her music. Later in his career he played the first architect in Inception, the one that messes up the shag carpeting, any bells? Ok, well Haas is not used to being on-screen all that much or at least when he is, it’s as a silent presence that slightly interest you. Charming with his faint humor that lingers in the best sense. The Pin is a myth as far as some of the other students could be concerned but actually the head of the major drug scene around those parts. The initial conflict involving a brick (hence the title) that goes missing and comes back tampered with.

      And what’s the one thing that drug pins are always in need of? Some muscle of course, why would they fight their own battles? Silly people. Any who, The Pin’s bodyguard rightfully named Tug is played by Noah Fleiss in the also typical over extreme teenage boy with way too much pent-up aggression. He gets caught up in a “who’s the daddy” type of situation involving Emily, Brendan and another guy by the name of Dode. Whose best described as some Grease dropout who even has the lingo down to a “T.” (T Birds, anyone?) Leading to everything in Brendan’s world linked back to one another and the farther involved he becomes, the more his health takes the risk. It’s a cool detective flick with all the right components and a great watch above anything else.