Brick opens with Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, Brendan, sitting near the dead body of a teen girl, who we discover is Emily, his ex-girlfriend (played by Emilie de Ravin, Claire from LOST). He receives a frantic phone call from Emily, talking about a brick that was bad, and that the pin was on it. He begins to track her down, becoming more embroiled in the world for which she left him—the upper crust world, where drugs and other crime flow freely.
The plot thickens. And thickens and thickens…
The deeper he digs, the more complex the story is. Things are not as they seem, and it just gets crazier and crazier, worse and more dangerous.
There’s some quick, intelligent conversation, along the lines of Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler. This is a neo-noir film, a Sam Spade-like thriller set in a California high school. I like the anachronistic dialogue, much like Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo+Juliet, where contemporary people speak in Shakespearean English (In Brick, Subsitute: locker number for address. Eating lunch with people for dating (or sleeping with them). Cliques for gangs. Parties for clubs or bars). Even more than just being anachronistic, the dialogue is thick and full. Brendan is a quick-witted character who fires back quickly and confidently throughout every scene.
Besides being a great actor, Joseph Gordon-Levitt can sure take a hit and land a fall. And he gets a chance to do both of these many times throughout the film. A lot. This is an excellent performance–one of many.
“Anyway you’ve been sniffing me out before then, sniffing for me like a vampire bat for a horse with a nick on its ear he can suck on. They do that.”