© Senator/Central

U.S.A. 2005

Opening 21 Sep 2006

Directed by: Rian Johnson
Writing credits: Rian Johnson
Principal actors: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Nora Zehetner, Lukas Haas, Noah Fleiss, Matt O'Leary

Brendan Frye (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) loses his girlfriend Emily to a drug episode (the bricks are made of heroin) and he sets out to find the guilty party. Brendan seeks the drug dealers in his high school. He shares his plan of action with his best friend, a master thinker of few words called The Brain, who runs interference for him with the teachers. His search takes him to The Pin, who leads a gang which includes a muscle-bound bouncer called Tugger, a druggie named Dode, a moll called Laura and even The Pin’s mother who serves him cereal in her kitchen.

Behind this simple plot lies a first film by Rian Johnson which reflects his love of Dashiell Hammett’s fictitious detective Sam Spade and film noire. After graduating from a California film school, Rian Johnson planned his film for six years and filmed in 20 days. His whole family invested money; his brother Nathan wrote the music; best friend Steve Yedlin worked the camera. His perseverance reaped rewards when Brick was a surprise sleeper success at the 2006 Sundance film festival and won first prize for Originality of Vision. Some critics predict that it could become a cult film such as Sex, Lies and Videotape. There are eerie scenes around completely empty high school corridors and athletic field. Brendan takes many hits to the chin and still manages to come back fighting. All of the characters speak in a half modern, half old-fashioned slang (see it in English if possible) There are secret notes with a mysterious letter “A” on them. There is a surprise ending, which is not really a surprise if you follow old Humphrey Bogart detective movies. Rian Johnson has made a very interesting first film which earns our respect and attention to his career from now on. (Becky Tan)

The theaters below show films in their original language; click on the links for showtimes and ticket information.
Interviews with the stars, general film articles, and reports on press conferences and film festivals.
Subscribe to the free KinoCritics monthly email newsletter here.