Release Date: January, 2005 (Sundance)
Directed by: Rian Johnson
Written by: Rian Johnson
Music by: Nathan Johnson
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Nora Zehetner, Noah Fleiss, Matt O’Leary, Noah Segan, Meagan Good, Emilie de Ravin, Richard Roundtree, Lukas Haas
Bergman Lustig Productions, Focus Features, 110 Minutes
“Throw one at me if you want, hash head. I’ve got all five senses and I slept last night, that puts me six up on the lot of you.” – Brendan Frye
This reminds me of that 2017 neo-noir Gemini. Reason being, I saw the trailer for it, was lured in and captivated by the visuals and tone but then upon seeing the movie, realized that it had nothing much to offer other than atmosphere and shitbabble conversations from characters written to appear as cool but actually coming off as pretentious douchewads.
With Brick, everything starts to come undone and loses its luster, as soon as you hear the first bit of dialogue.
Additionally, a lot of this isn’t well shot or well lit. It doesn’t employ anything beyond early film school level cinematography. The visual allure of the trailer was obviously just a selection of the movie’s best shots, probably handpicked by the producers in an effort to at least get enough people to watch this just so that the film could break even. Because even though Brick is sort of a cult film now, no one really knew about it for years.
To put it bluntly, Brick is a fucking headache. It has some talented people in it but what could have been great performances and maybe even iconic ones, is undone by director and writer Rian Johnson’s middle school dialogue.
It’s like Johnson is a teen that just discovered classic film-noir and crime fiction and just lifted 1940s dialogue from those sources, applied it to teenagers in a contemporary setting and thought that it was some sort of genius that would make him the new millennium’s Fellini.
But Hollywood apparently loved this film and Johnson’s horrendously bad Looper because he went on to make a Star Wars picture. Granted, it was the worst Star Wars film ever made and pretty much derailed the franchise.
The point is, the warning signs of Rian Johnson’s inability to actually make a competent film were very apparent with Brick.
This tried so hard to be cool but it failed, just as Rian Johnson tries so hard to be a filmmaker but fails, time and time again.
Pairs well with: other overly stylized and quippy, shitbabble movies that miss their mark because they can’t see their mark.