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Brick - Preview & US reaction

Brick

Preview by Jack Foley

A HARD-boiled noir mystery set in a modern-day Southern California neighbourhood and high school is earning some excellent reviews in America, thanks to some top performances and slick direction.

Brick, directed by Rian Johnson and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, focuses on the life of Brendan Frye (Gordon-Levitt) a fiercely intelligent student who isn’t afraid to back up his words with actions, and knows all the angles.

Content to remain an outsider, he is finally forced to take action when his ex-girlfriend, Emily (Emilie de Ravin of TV’s Lost) reaches out to him unexpectedly and then disappears. Given that his feelings for her still run deep, his life becomes consumed with finding his troubled ex.

Enlisting the help of his only true friend, The Brain (Matt O’Leary), while keeping the assistant vice principal (Richard Roundtree) only occasionally informed of the investigation, Brendan begins to unearth several secrets and places himself on a collision course with rich-girl sophisticate, Laura (Nora Zehetner), intimidating Tugger (Noah Fleiss), substance-abusing Dode (Noah Segan), seductive Kara (Meagan Good), jock Brad (Brian White) and – most ominously – non-student The Pin (Lukas Haas).

The letter presides over an inner circle of crime and punishment that Brendan must infiltrate to find the answers he craves.

Brick is due to open in UK cinemas in April but debuted in America at the end of March where it attracted some positive responses from the leading reviewers.

Variety, for instance, wrote that ‘the picture gains in finesse and confidence to the point where Johnson more or less pulls off his peril-fraught exercise’.

While the New York Post declared that ‘it’s Gordon-Levitt’s pitch-perfect work that makes Brick a hardboiled treat’.

And the Hollywood Reporter concluded that ‘Brick is a dazzling slab of hard noir storytelling’.

Village Voice, meanwhile, opined that ‘Brick represents an impossible dream, though: the reuse – with conviction – of cinema’s most calloused and beloved genre as applied to contemporary middle-class life’.

And Rolling Stone observed that while ‘a spoof would have been easy, instead, Johnson plunges off the deep end, risking ridicule by shaping this spellbinder with grit and gravitas’.

Film Freak Central even predicted that Brick is ‘a cult classic in the making’, while Comingsoon.net stated that it ‘goes so far beyond anything we’ve seen before, that it’s often hard to keep up with its brilliance’.

And, finally, Efilmcritic.com concluded: “Writer/Director Rian Johnson goes back to the old days when characters were rocks, dialogue was king and the plot demanded you pay attention to every last bit.”

We can’t wait to catch it when it opens in UK cinemas later this month.