5 out of 5

Director: Rian Johnson

“Brick” comes with a steep learning curve, in that you either buy completely into the world of the movie or you find yourself walled off from it. The beginning of the curve is the language – steeped entirely in noir / caper lingo, the film has a play-like staccato feel to the dialogue (reminiscent of the older style of film from which style is swiped) and it is, admittedly, difficult to keep up with when you’re not expecting it. It is more intensive than most films in this aspect, but to the movie’s credit, the plotting is paced such that you can review what’s been said and get the gist. Repeated viewings, of course, allow you to appreciate what is said (and how it’s said – the acting is wonderfully key to the feel) and sink further into the world created. …And the world created is the remainder of the curve: that this noir whodunnit is set in a modern high school. Wait, what’s the plot? It’s sort of a murder mystery, but this is more about creating a mood than piecing together clues. That’s a lot of words to not say very much. This is just a very respectable movie: it is certainly indie, and it certainly tries to carve out a niche, but it does it naturally and fluidly, saving fancy camera work for key moments and sprinkling humor to buoy the rather dark story. …Wwwwhich is what MAKES this so solid overall, that it remains about the story. It is true to noir with its down and dirty feel, and director/writer Rian Johnson found a way to keep a classic tale modern. Brilliant brilliant brilliant.

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