A Modern Day Noir.
written and directed by RIAN JOHNSON
starring JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT
Rian Johnson has a unique voice when it comes to his films. BRICK (2005) is a suspenseful tale that does not follow the traditional “whodunit” style of movie writing. In Brick, we have a young man who happens to the dead body of a former girlfriend who phoned earlier for help. Now Brendan is to pursue the reason behind the girls’ death in an old style gumshoe fashion, which involves following the clues and retracing the girl’s steps before she is dead in the ditch. The novella has its string of informants, drug dealers and typical high school drama that makes this tale a plausible and unified mystery.
What is admirable about the tale is that it is teeming with clues—which Emily’s involved in before her body is found. The distractions from other characters to throw our “detective” of sorts, Brendan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), off the trail of the murder and yet, lead him to the underlying mystery of why this girl dies and by whom. The sad plot point in Brick is that no matter what Brendan and James did to help find the one responsible for killing Emily, they could not save her.
What are more impressive are the films classic methods to solving the crime? Each character renders as an archetype rather than a stand alone individuals. They take on the personas the novella pegs them out to be which makes it hard to empathize with each character. It does not matter that the girl in the film dies–it is the nature of their situations that proves more interesting.