Monday, 9 May 2011


Brick is a 2005 American film written and directed by Rian Johnson. He was inspired by the hardboiled detective novels written by Dashiell Hammett, and set out to create a detective film like the Film Noirs he had watched in his childhood.

The film is centred around California high school student Brendan Frye, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, a lonsum character; the anti-hero. Brick begins like a typical film noir; at the end. We are first shown the body of a young blonde girl, which soon changes to a scene of Brendan's locker. The text helps us to understand that it is 'Two days earlier', which (as all good noir films do) gets the viewer wondering about the first image seen, and how this boy at a locker has anything to do with such morbid death. Immediately the viewers are being thrown with questions; a great effect to have on this genre of film.
As we piece together evidence, it becomes clear to us that the blonde girl is Brendan's ex girlfriend, Emily. We hear of some problems to do with her, and realise that Brendan is attempting to get to the route of these problems by finding her and sorting them out. Unfortunately, noir films do not end how we would all like them to; She is killed before he could find out any further information.
This leads Brendan on a hunt to seek her killer, through codes and mystery, which is how he winds up involved with one of the top drug baron; The Pin. Not only is he a danger, but his violent associate Tug is often seen beating others, including our protagonist!
We all know thugs and drug barons are a one way ticket to danger, but no more so than the noir's most famous femme fetale, taking the form of Laura Dannon in 'Brick'. Knowing the good, old femme fetales, Laura is involved in The Pin's dealings. Gaining the trust as the film proceeds, from our protagonist and the audience who have not yet detected her as the femme fetale, it is later found out that this girl was partly to blame for the death of Brendan's ex girlfriend. She blamed her for the stealing of drugs. Brendan harshly explains what he knows, as she begs him to believe her that he is wrong and cries.
Murder is a key aspect to the storyline of 'Brick', along side drugs a mistrust. It is thought that the Assistant Vice Principle Trueman (the authoritive figure) would be an honest a wholesome person, but we are shocked to find that he encourages Brendan to snitch and also protects his name from any trouble that may or may not occur. This is a modernised style of noir; usually you would have the coppers, who at first would seem like the first people to turn to in times of desperation and need, but when it comes down to it we start to realise that noirs' authoritive figures are perhaps even worse that the problems themselves. Basically, noir's show no escape; it's more thrilling to see something that may prove a challenge to get through. As 'Brick' carries through, we find it difficult to trust anyone other than our protagonist. From his point of view, everyone is out to get him.
Sound is used in 'Brick', used in the same way of which would be used in noir films; The music would usually be downbeat jazz and piano music. In Brick there is a lot of use of traditional instruments, especially the piano, trumpet and violin.

The characters use very hardboiled language, much like was used in classic Noir. Hearing this type of language used gives us the sense of mystery, as it isn't exactly normal to hear it from teenagers in this time. However, it is still highlighted that this film is modernised, so we accept their language as it suits the genre accordingly.

After having watched both contemporary and classic noir, I can now say that I enjoyed Brick a lot more than what I would have done as I could appreciate the aspects to the storyline. It was nice to see how it was stylised into an old fashioned film genre, but with contemporary twists that keep a more varied aged audience entertained.

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