In film noir style, Brick delivers a sharp, sometimes darkly comical, and often witty modern version of the detective story. The plot swiftly lures the audience through quick-cuts, flashbacks, pointed angles and a sturdy lead character in the loner Brendan Frye (Joe Gordon-Levitt—3rd Rock From the Sun’s Tommy). Brick is an intensely intertwined tale that pulls the audience easily along, even stopping occasionally to have some pun/fun along the way.
Like those lead males that came before him, Gordon-Levitt delivers the goods to the audience. Many of Brendan’s lines are reminiscent of Sam Spade (Bogart fashioned), but sometimes the delivery of the lines by Gordon-Levitt is incoherent. The one-liners, while important to a mirroring of style, aren’t really that important to the tale, although the humour and wit found in them is worth hearing. The movie’s modern cinematic touches, while often comedic in the film noir style—The Pin’s mother proved great comedic relief—appear regenerated in the modern film by their lack of modernization. My teenager, who tagged along for the show, thought the teenage world in the film rather unrealistic; there were no emails and computers, very few cell phones, and as she was quick to point out after the show (maybe too much so), no one went to classes at school.
Some of the elements that made a classic noir film are missing, such as the black and white shadowy images, and a multitude of gloomy night scenes, while others are noticeably present and effective, not so much in the expressionist manner, but effective at representing the eye-level view of Brendan. I enjoyed the film, and would really love a chance to see it again to gather in more of the cinematic themes/metaphor that ran throughout the film—such as the sound of running water, the sun, the shoes.
Tonight I’m watching another film, hopefully as interesting: A Good Woman (it was out on video afterall).