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Review By: Christian Ghigliotty
Taking its cues from hard-nosed detective film noir and the snappy dialogue of novelist Dashiell Hammet, Brick is a wonderful slice of throwback in fact one of anachronistic proportions. The fast paced whodunit from writer/director Rian Johnson just oozes with wit, with the recognizable prints of Sergio Leoni western flair, set against the most unlikely of backdrop—a modern day Southern California high school.
The film’s antagonist, Brendan Fyre (a no non-sense Joseph Gordon-Levitt), is a seemingly reserved young man with a piercing intelligence, but we soon find out that he has the fists to backup his verbose quips. “I got all five senses and I got sleep last night so I’m six up on the lot of you,” he barks at a group of hoodlums leering at him from afar. Dressed in a tight pair of Wranglers, a thin Members Only jacket and brown cowboy boots, he shakes things up in his quiet tightlipped town when he receives a phone call from his distraught ex-girlfriend Emily (Lost’s and former Roswell star, Emilie de Ravin). Brendan’s love for Emily still runs deep even though she left him for the underworld he eventually delves into; he agrees to help her but with trepidation. After she blathers on about being in trouble their phone call is cut short, but not before she drops three clues that eventually stick — Tugg, Brick and Pin.
The young gumshoe enlists the help of his friend The Brain (quirky Matt O’ Leary) to help find out why Emily asked for help. Behind his thick black frames and wiry build The Brain is Brendan’s insider, tipping him off on the 5 W’s on any suspicious “yegs” who may be asking too many questions. As Brendan forges on in his investigation he pushes into the inner circle of trust fund babies and dope runners who run amuck but fly low enough beneath the radar to supply the town with its fix. Just when Brendan starts to get close he finds Emily dead, a lifeless body left sopping in the water, with too many questions and few answers.
All of the characters he interacts with are opaque, often having their own agenda amidst Brendan’s borderline fixation with finding the people responsible for Emily’s death, and yet they are all connected in someway. Brendan falls into the good graces of The Pin (Lukas Haas), the lanky kingpin running his entire drug operation from the basement of his mother’s house. Another one of Emily’s ex-flames, Dode (Noah Segan) looks like a whinny homage to the Clash but can be squeezed for information