Brick is a really really great film. Yesterday I watched it twice in a row, the second time with the director and cast commentary, and today I’m watching it again.
It’s basically a detective story that happens to be smushed into an American high school setting; although I don’t remember there being much of the actual school showing up aside from a few hallways and the vice-principal’s office a couple of times. And while it hardly uses the kind of language that a typical teenager would use, it revolves entirely around the things that teenagers are taken up by; who hangs out with who, the cliques and circles that spring up in a community, love, lust, drugs, popularity, wanting to belong, the kind of single-minded obsession with someone that you can only get when you’re young.
In some ways, this films reminds me of 8mm. Maybe it’s the way that it’s shot more than the general investigating a death theme. Although Nicholas Cage’s character in that film has more to lose than Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, Brendan, does in this one – he has no friends, no family that you ever see (though they must be there) and in fact, I think all he does have is his dead ex-girlfriend. Who’s dead, of course.
Incidentally, while the way that this film is shot reminds me of 8mm, Brick is shot really beautifully. I could just watch this with the sound off and enjoy the composition of the scenes. I could watch single frames in random orders and I would still enjoy it. I could take screencaps and put the stills in a frame and hang them on my wall and it would work well. I would love to see this turned into a sketchy animated film too, because I think that visually that would look cool too. With a stick-figure Brendan mooching about and angry stick-figure Tug beating him occassionally. That kind of thing.
This next bit really goes after that last part of this entry, but that bit kinda spoilers things and well, this doesn’t really. Mmm coherency. Anyway, one of the other things I noticed when I first watched this film is that, at any point during it, there barely more than two speaking characters in a scene. That and the entire film follows Brendan, the main character, and his point of view – though without being able to hear his thoughts, like you might in a book, he always knows more than the viewer. Or at least, more than I do about how everything interconnects and works out. Then all is revealed with the exposition at the end, like he’s Hercule Poirot or Sherlock Holmes. But I guess that’s just the nature of the genre really.
Also, the glasses & glasses case thing kind of works like the cigarette and cigerette packet seems to in a traditional detective film.
What follows may spoil the film for you (even though it doesn’t entirely have much to do with the actual film), so I’ve cut it from the main blog page. Click below to see it.
I bought this film on DVD because it was cheap and I’d heard good things about it and I know I must have read the blurb on the back when I got it. Then, I put it down somewhere in my room with a couple of other cheap DVDs that I got at the same time and totally didn’t watch it for like… a couple of months. And when I did pick it up again, I couldn’t remember what it was about but it made me think about the song “Brick” by Ben Folds Five. And if you know what that song’s about (and you’ll find out if you check out the wikipedia page I linked), strangely it is vaguely related.
Not just the theme, but at least for me, the way I can listen to it over and over and over and it still has the same impact every time I hear it.