A Film Review By Jeff Fro

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lukas Hass 
Directed By: Rian Johnson 
Rated:Rated R for violent and drug content. 
Review Posted: April 20th, 2006 

Final Grade: 

Film Noir is a tricky business. It employs some classic conventions that have been around for decades. The problem here is that they have not really changed much or been used much on a large scale for decades. “Brick” intends to use them and use them well.

As film noir goes, it is most often a mystery that draws us into the story. This one is no different. We have a murdered ex-girlfriend and her discarded boyfriend chooses to investigate her murder instead of involving the police. Told in a series of flashbacks alternated with current action, the story winds around and fits together like a human jigsaw puzzle. If you have never seen a film noir format before, this is what one looks like.

Each character is unique and quirky – Sometimes effectively and sometimes to a distraction of the plot. The cinematography is artful and at times quite beautiful. The cast is pretty and more than once I found myself comparing this high school group and the teen locations with that of the television show “Veronica Mars”. All of these things could have easily been happening in her same universe.

The tone is serious and still at times the quirkyness of the characters elicited laughs.

I am a fan of the format, so I was pleasantly satisfied with the standard noir ending where the whole film is explained and all of the puzzle pieces are shown to fit…and the ultimate confession of our hero’s lustful attraction. A very by the numbers third act to be sure.

The friend I went to see this film with was not a fan of the format and thus gave up on the movie half way through in order to continue to browse sale items at Macy’s while I finished watching to find out just who was guilty of the murder we witnessed in the opening frames. But I was never one to put down a good mystery.

Final verdict = If you like noir then you are in for a treat, if not then check out the clearance racks. 

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