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Running Time:
1 hour, 55 minutes

Rating: R Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Adult.

Rating Explanation:
for violent and drug content

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
An interesting contemporary teen drug thriller overlaid with the ambiance of a 1940's film noir melodrama. But it's mostly an inventive exercise in stylish filmmaking.

Additional Info:
DVD Features: Over 20 minutes of deleted and extended scenes; The inside track: casting the roles; Feature commentary by cast and filmmakers.

An intelligent high school student, Brendan Frye (Joseph Gordon-Levitt "Angels in the Outfield") seems to know all the angles; yet he prefers to remain an outsider, and does, until the day that his ex-girlfriend, Emily (Emilie de Ravin of TV's "Lost"), reaches out to him unexpectedly and then he finds her dead in an irrigation ditch. The mystery of her death unfolds as a complicated, twisty story that involves some of the school's toughest students including the intimidating Tugger (Noah Fleiss "Storytelling") and substance-abusing Dode (Noah Segan from TV's NCIS) and Brendan soon finds himself trudging from one violent situation to another in his quest to discover what happened to Emily. With the help of his best friend (Matt O'Leary "Spy Kids 2 and 3-D"), he keeps the assistant vice principal (Richard Roundtree "Shaft") only occasionally informed of his dangerous investigation. He does get some help from seductive femme fatale Kara (Meagan Good "You Got Served") who gets him into a party being held by Laura (Nora Zehetner from TV's "Everwood"), a sophisticated rich-girl. There he finally gets to meet the notorious "The Pin" (Lukas Haas "Breakfast of Champions"). It is only by gaining acceptance into The Pin's closely guarded inner circle that Brendan is able to uncover some hard truths about Emily, and the mystery in which he is totally involved.

First time writer-director Rian Johnson has not only set out to re-create a 1940s film noir, but he has also invested his movie with the mood and setting of John Huston's 1974 thriller "Chinatown." Like that Jack Nicholson movie this film is also shot in color with beautifully photographed California settings. "Brick" manages maintain the period style of profanity-free dialogue, but it does feature more than one instance of violent action that is far more graphic than anything that Humphrey Bogart's Sam Spade ever had to deal with. A reminder, perhaps, that the movies today are far more violent than the romanticized murder and intrigue featured in those noir classics. What's interesting is that the kids here don't seem to be aware that they're acting in a Dashiell Hammett-style detective story so the gimmick feels entirely natural. Although some of the dialogue is so contemporary that you're not always able to understand every word they're saying, the meaning is never obscure. Packed with geeky allusions to everything from "The Maltese Falcon" to "Blue Velvet," the film is mostly an inventive exercise in stylish filmmaking.

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