Preview by: Jack Foley
ONE of the most intriguing times of any film year is watching
which films emerge from the Sundance Film Festival in January.
The yearly curtain-raiser consistently throws up some of the
most interesting independent films of any year, as well as provides
a showcase for some of the hottest new talent.
Looking ahead this year, one of the contenders for festival favourite
is Rian Johnson's Brick, which is entered into the dramatic section.
Both written and directed by Johnson, Brick features Joseph Gordon-Levitt
as high-school loner, Brendan Fry, a smart kid who knows all the
angles but chooses to stay on the outside.
However, when the love of his life turns up dead, he dives into
the school's social strata to find out why and who was responsible.
The ensuing investigation leads him
to several suspects - all of whom represent familiar character
stereotypes brought to viewers in an apparently unfamiliar style.
For instance, a sociopathic sexpot is the queen of the drama
geeks, while the police chief is also the vice-principal, and
a trusy operative is a nerd in coke-bottle glasses.
The main suspect is played by Lukas Haas, and takes the form
of a 26-year-old drug dealer who lives in his mom's basement.
According to Trevor Groth, on the Sundance Film Festival website,
Gordon-Levitt 'unleashes an inspired performance as the fast-talking,
ultra-cool protagonist', while writer-director, Johnson, 'displays
a complete understanding of cinematic language, paying homage
to the classics but also creating his own style by injecting the
film with contemporary exuberance, humor, and locale'.
He concludes that 'Brick is a directorial debut of extraordinary
Whether audiences will agree remains to be seen, but its take
on High School life might just place it among this year's ultra-cool
bracket occupied by the likes of Mean
Girls and Saved! in 2004.