This week on Watch This!, I present one of my personal favorite films of all-time: Brick, a 2006 film written and directed by Rian Johnson (The Brothers Bloom). Brick draws heavily from the old noir films of the 40's starring Humphrey Bogart and others, creating a detective story that centers around teenagers. Joseph Gorden Levitt stars as Brendan, a loner who is on the search for his missing ex-girlfriend (and love) Emily (Emilie De Ravin). When he finally founds out what happened, Brendan iis determined to find out who caused it, and goes undercover into the underground crime ring of a small town and a high school to uncover the true mystery, joining forces with local drug king The Pin (Lukas Haas). As the story unravels, Brendan gets sucked in deeper and deeper and becomes the object of popular girl Laura's (Nora Zehetner) affections.

Brick is an absolute indie masterpiece. Made on a shoestring budget by a first-time writer and director, the film took Sundance by storm, earning an award for being the Most Creative film at the festival. It earns that title in every way. The first time I watched Brick, I could not get out of my seat for anything. My eyes were glued to the screen. When it ended, I had to watch it again immediately after, just to make sure that what I had just watched wasn't a fluke. Then when I bought it on DVD, I watched it two more times in a row.

Everything in this movie is executed well. The acting is excellent, especially on the part of Joseph Gordon Levitt. This was the first film where I saw him really act, and it's the reason I have followed him into films like 500 Days of Summer and GI Joe: Rise of Cobra. If you want to see a star-making performance, watch this movie. The supporting cast is great too, with a lot of people I had never seen in a movie before completely blow me away, especially Matt O'Leary as Brendan's only ally The Brain.

The look of the film is grainy and dark, and really sets the mood for the whole movie. The dialogue and story are captivating, with the characters speaking like they are out of a 40's film but at the same time, making it believable. It's a noir film that is placed in a high school, with the Police Captain being replaced with a Vice Principal, "jail" being "detention", etc. The story unravels at a quick enough pace to keep you interested and keep you guessing at all turns. Even if you figure out what happens, you still want to know why.

The score to the movie, done by Rian's cousin Nathan Johnson (and friends), is one of my favorite movie scores of all-time, bar none. Nathan employs the use of bottles and other unusual percussion instruments along with acoustic guitars and pianos that creates a very original and very haunting and melancholy sound through out the film. When I write for the site, 9 times out of 10 I have the soundtrack playing. It envokes so many images, and Nathan Johnson should be doing scores for everything ever.

Brick is a movie that I can vouch for being legitimately good. It's not just one of those films I enjoy that probably suck; this is a movie that should receive the acclaim bigger films get. It's a great mystery filled with memorable characters and some of the strongest acting I have seen, with a score that is almost unmatched to me. If you haven't watched this yet, do so now. Seriously. Don't be an idiot.

You can buy Brick on Amazon or rent it/watch it instantly on Netflix.

-Jonathan Sullivan


11/30/2009 14:06


or one of them, at least.

you know the scene where the only thing you can hear is the boots when he's running? genius.


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