Friday, February 5, 2010

Brick. C+


Take the style of a Dashiell Hammett novel and jump ahead 75 years to suburban city life where teenagers talk like scripted characters, a girl is found dead, and a loner high school kid navigates the local youth drug scene to solve the mystery. That's what 'Brick,' advertised as a detective story, is up to. The loner is played by Jospeh Gordon-Levitt (who'se finally starting to get the recognition he deserves, though in the eye of the public he's still relatively small). This is one of his first roles in his rise from 'solid youngster' to 'professional adult.' He seems a bit stiff at the beginning (though it could very well be a result of the character he's playing), but he's got the acting chops down by the end. The director Is Rian Johnson, who's inspiration came straight from Hammett's stylish prose. The movie definitely feels like a project of a first time director, as some of the scenes felt very repetetive, especially when Gordon-Levitt keeps taking fists to the face. But Johnson also gives us indications that he's got talent. The movie is made with considerable craft and it also has a tremendous sense of time and place. I liked things about 'Brick'-the rugged, hard-boiled detective style, Gordon-Levitt's performance-but there were too many things that kept me from really liking it: none of the characters were very believable (and did you notice they never seem to have class) so I didn't really care about any of them, the story moves incredibly quick. Even the dialogue is delivered at a lightening pace. Sometimes you can't even pick up what the characters are saying. And, as I said, they don't talk like real teens talk. I still admired 'Brick' for what it was trying to do, even if the result wasn't quite up to par with the classic detective stories it aspires to emulate.

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