Arts Hit by Brick
After reading Andrew Wright’s rave in last week’s Stranger, I headed to Pacific Place to check out Brick, the teen neo-noir written and directed (on a budget of $500,000) by Rian Johnson.
Wright’s right: Brick is amazing, and it’s unlike anything I’ve seen before. The plot tracks a lonely high-school kid as he attempts to solve and avenge an ex-girlfriend’s murder, and the influence of the great films noir (classic and contemporary) is all over it. (Primary referents: Chinatown, Blue Velvet, The Last Goodbye, and Murder, My Sweet.)
But the style of Brick is all its own, thanks primarily to the dialogue, which is ferociously stylized, occasionally to the point of incomprehension. Imagine one of Gus Van Sant’s recent “static suburban dreamscape” films lit up by a psychotic screwball comedy script, and you’ll get a sense of what Brick feels like.
That Rian Johnson was able to get his young cast (including Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Lukas Haas) to uniformly nail his from-outer-space dialogue style is amazing. Typically, movies attempting to set stylized adult plots in high-school settings are ridiculous. (See Cruel Intentions, the would-be prep-school Dangerous Liasions.) But Brick nails it, in a way that hasn’t been done, or even attempted, before. If you dig noir-styled anything, go see it.