It’s film noir set in a public high school.  Brick tells the tail of Brendan Frye (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) a loner and ex-small time pusher who gets pulled back into the fray after receiving a mysterious phone call from his ex-girlfriend asking for help.  As he dives into the high school underworld populated by kids with names like Dode, Tug, Brain, and The Pin, he slowly but surely begins to put all the pieces together even while getting the living daylights beat out of him (which happens at least three times – at one point he passes out because of blood loss).

Made for less than a half-million dollars, the film still manages to find some stunning images set among the dry and desolate California desert region.  It received several award nominations and won a few independent film awards, including a Sundance award. 

The dialogue is crisp and fast, the plot is intricate, and the acting is sublime, all helping to make you forget that these are high-school kids and not characters from a hardboiled detective novel. 

So if you like intelligent, skillfully made movies on a shoestring budget, check out Brick.

– Christopher H.

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