Fearful Symmetry

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Late night phone call

Late night phone call

So Brick is a modern noir set in an American high school… We get the usual elements of the genre – a loner hero, his brainiac side-kick, a crippled villain, his henchmen, various femme fatales and dames that you just know are going to break the hero’s heart. All in a high school – the ‘cops’ that the hero has to work around for instance, are replaced by the school authorities. Writer-director Rian Johnson could have produced a farce but he plays it, bar a couple of key moments, with a straight bat and it really works. The characters tough-guy Chandleresque slang (with ‘brick’ being an example) takes a bit of getting used to, but once your brain makes the leap it all makes sense.

The plot naturally, is complex but revolves around the macguffin of the ‘brick’ of the tile – a block of heroin (something we don’t actually learn for a while…) and our hero – not quite a private eye, but fulfilling that role – will be getting more than one beating and dishing out some damage of his own before we get to the end. A of course there’s a dead body – dumped in a storm drain, natch.

There’s solid acting all round, especially by Lukas Haas (once the kid in Witness) as local kingpin, The Pin. Maybe in the end it’s a little style over substance but I’ll be interested in seeing what Johnson does next.


Written by Fearful Symmetry

July 23, 2009 at 9:53 am

Posted in Review

Tagged with , , , , ,

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