Brick - A (Very, Very) Delayed Movie Review
It's fun reviewing film's like Brick because there really is no leeway when it comes to the viewers opinion. You're either going to like this movie, or you're going to hate it, like my roommates do. The concept is simple, Brick is a film-noir mystery set in a modern day highschool. The premise on the other hand is rather sophisticated, Brendan has just found his old girlfriend dead underneath an old tunnel. Last he heard from her she mentioned something along the lines of a bad Brick with a Pin on it. But kids being what they are these days, Brendan doesn't want revenge with whoever pulled the trigger, he wants everyone who was involved.
In a way, I would be more willing to compare Brick to the Baz Luhrmann remake of Romeo and Juliet, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. The dialogue seems out of place, the character interactions seem oddly forced, but there is this undeniable air of intentionality to it. It's like a mystery novel come to life. Characters converse with lingo heavily weighed down by intensive 1940's slang, spitting out words so fast that it takes a few seconds even to mentally register what's going on.
The common complaint concerning this is that the dialogue is initially so distracting that it becomes impossible for some viewers to accept the fact that these characters are even in highschool at all. The film is rather brutal in it's innefficiency to provide it's audience with a moment to suspend their disbelief. You either go along with it, or you complain throughout the ride.
Comparing Brick to Romeo + Juliet is in some ways litterally comparing second-hand mystery novels to Shakespeare, however in this case the levels of sophistication have been reversed. Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet was an scholary work of literature catered to highschoolers, Brick is a highschool drama catered to literature scholars. It is intelligent, intruiging, and, as one of the film's characters notes in regards to his love for Tolkien, Brick exists in an immersive universe you can't help but want to be a part of.
The least anyone can say about Brick is that it is original.
But I think we need to slow down here.
A crime saga starring kids?
Aren't we forgetting something here?
A little film I like to refer to as, Bugsy Malone?
You know, I've never actually seen Bugsy Malone. Probably because after watching the trailer just now I'm thinking the same thing I did when I saw the trailer when I was ten years old. But if that movie has the point I'm going to make right now, then well done Bugsy.
There is something inheritly childish, maybe even romantacized, about the crime world we have captured through film and written stories. Roger Ebert in his review of Bugsy said, "we remember that the old Bogart and Cagney classics had a childlike innocence, too. The world was simpler then. Now it's so complicated maybe only a kid can still understand the Bogart role." The same would probably hold true for highschool students, the delinquents of the adult world, the members of a social group in which everyone is an outcast. What would the Bogart from the Maltese Falcon been like had he been in your homeroom? I think Brendan is probably a close bet.
For those who embrace mystery films, even in their convoluted flaws, Brick will easily fit in that niche you didn't even know you had. It did for me, and with each repeated viewing it tends to grow for me even more.
For the rest of you, however, who consider Brick to be an excuse for artsy people to further inflate their ego's, I suggest you wait. Even if you don't like it, I consider it to be a promising look at a director with an original point of view.