Brick (Rian Johnson, 2005)
This indie film about a teenager who lost the girl he loves to her tragic death reminds us of the best film noirs of the 1940's. Everything sounds like the film noir genre: the use of low camera angles, the twisted plot, the stereotyped characters and the broken and beaten down hero "à la" Humphrey Bogart.
But what struck you the most is Joseph-Gordon Levitt's presence as the protagonist: Brendan. His nuanced performance holds the whole movie together. Jo-Go has this weird "nerdy" look of an improvised private receiving multiple beatings and investing on the death of his former lover: Emily or should I say the femme fatale of the film... She is the kind of woman/girl a man can't lost all his marks.
Brendan will try to understand and elucidate what happened to Emily and what led her to death. He'll have to frequent dark characters like Tug and The Pin. Did I mentioned this? All this film noir settings is situated in the lives of High School teens.
It's without a doubt an interesting approach to the High School world and to the film noir genre. But somehow, it lacks of reality in its coherence. It's probably over serious in its use of the noir genre. It makes the references look like if the genre is a farce. However, Rian Johnson the writer/director of Brick wasn't afraid to insert some really funny humoristic moments. His direction is interesting and it keeps the true spirit of the Film Noir codes (see The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep). I don't know exactly why but this treatment reminded me of a David Lynch film of the 1980's and 1990's.
I'd like to see Johnson's other success Brothers Bloom which I heard some praises about lately. But now I'd like to know what you all think of Brick?