Emilie De Ravin
After the recent resurgence of the Western, it now appears Hollywood is ready for a drastic overhaul of another genre. This time it's the turn of the noir. It's gone through many changes throughout the years, recently melding with science fiction. But the new indie Brick has an even more ingenious idea up its sleeve; to mix the noir with the high school movie.
Brendon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) gets a troubling phone call from his ex Emily which sends his mind into a tailspin. Even though they now have nothing to do with each other, she asks for his help. Unable to avoid his better nature, Brendon starts a search to try and find her. But as he gets closer, a new discovery is made: Emily is dead. Brendon's mission is now different - he must try and find out who was behind he murder and what on earth is meant by the word Brick.
A film lives and dies by its ideas. Brick is fortunate enough to have an abundance of excellent ones. The traditional genre conventions are turned cleverly on their heads from the outset. As Brendon searches for the 'broad' he must get information on who she has lunch with, what her locker number is etc - all the time trying to avoid the principal who is on his tail for information. But Brick isn't a spoof - it treats all of its subversions with respect, and creates such a vivid world you find it hard not to get drawn into the mystery.
Okay so it's not a story we're not familiar with - it's been used in a million noirs before but Brick's novel spin makes it seem wholly new. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is excellent in the lead and he builds on all of the child roles he's better known for. His sterling work here suggests a fantastic career to come. However, the real find from Brick is the writer director Rian Johnson. His only previous work was Evil Demon Golfball from Hell so Brick really is quite the leap. Not since Donnie Darko announced the awesome talent of Richard Kelly, has there been such an exciting arrival in independent cinema.
Like Donnie Darko, when watching Brick you get the feeling this is going to be an endlessly quoted cult classic. Every line of dialogue is so effortlessly cool, every shot is so meticulously choreographed and even every sound effect is purposefully included. This really is a film which not only entices you with its plot but causes admiration for its craftsmanship.
The noir film is back with a vengeance and Brick stands out as one the best independent films we are likely to see this year. I'm predicting another summer of bloated blockbusters, so before the madness starts there's no better way to cool down than by watching Brick; probably the coolest movie of the year.