In discussing films, there might be spoilers. Sorry!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

"Brick ..."

Staring: JGL, Lukas Haas, Nora Zehetner Emilie de Ravin

Directed/Written By: Rian Johnson
Released: 2005

JGL said it in one of the recent quotes, it's just about the script and in his mind, this one rocked. "In Brick, the world is born in words."

There is not a lot of action in Brick. Not like there is in a lot of the films that come out today. Bumble Bee will not be transforming. Denzel Washington will not be trying to stop a train. In Brick, the tension is not developed by an explosion, but by the mix of words, expressions and simple actions carried out by very good actors. There is a discussion here, fist fight there - but there isn't CG or need for a long list of stunt doubles. This is an Indie film focusing on a story and the people who are caught up in the conflict.

Kara: "You better be sure you wanna know what you wanna know."

and ...

Brenden Frye "Your muscle seemed plenty cool putting his fist in my head. I want him out." The Pin: "Looky, soldier..."
Brenden Frye: "The ape blows or I clam."

With words like this, dialogue like this, Brick was more in sync with an old Humphrey Bogart film of 1941 than an Indie film of 2005. I could see the appeal to JGL who professes to love old movies.

Says Bogie as Sam Spade in The Matese Falcon: "I hope they don't hang you, precious, by that sweet neck. Yes, angel, I'm gonna send you over. The chances are you'll get off with life. That means if you're a good girl, you'll be out in 20 years. I'll be waiting for you. If they hang you, I'll always remember you."

Brenden Frye is a high school senior still hung up on his old girlfriend, Emily. She comes to him for help, then turns him away before he can be of assistance. She was afraid of something, something bad and he doesn't know what. Tracking her movements, finding out what she got in to, it becomes his mission ... until he finds her face down, dead, in a stream. Then finding out who killed her and why is all this loner kid can think about, regardless of the danger to himself. He begins journey into the dark world of drugs and criminals and a kid, not much older than himself, (Haas) who thinks he can run the world from a van while using a cane.

The role of Brenden Frye makes a halfway point in the development of JGL. Very much past his Third Rock days, he is choosing roles that take him as far away from Tommy as possible. Brenden is a hybrid, child to adult. He is a kid either too stupid or too disinterested in making choices where he could end up dead. Yet, he is adult enough know to handle the scrapes he gets in, remain in control and come out on top.

The supporting cast in this file was excellent with Haas leading the bunch. Side-kick - I always like side-kicks -- "The Brain" played by Matt O'Leary, is great as the kid with all the answers. He knows everything Brenden needs to know yet we aren't always sure who side he is on. He lets Brenden know he is figuring it out, realizing Emily is missing, suspecting Brenden knows more, yet The Brain never pushes and always offers his help.

In the end, Emily died for no reason. The love Brenden had for her was not enough. A loner through and through, who preferred his lunch alone behind the buildings, away from the crowds, he would have been there for her, protected her, taken care of her as best he could. Instead all he could do was bring down a drug ring and bust the one person responsible for every one's misery.

I would call this a quiet film packed full of emotions and words that leave you thinking and wondering just how Brenden might have been able to make a difference if only Emily would have trusted him in the first, second and third place.

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