MV5BMTk4MjQzMzA2N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTU2MzIzMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_So Brick is a film I’ve been a ware of for a while; a couple of people whose views I respect had spoken highly of it, but it was only when I saw Looper last year where, being impressed by the output of director Rian Johnson and star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, I decided to seek this one out.

It’s an odd little film. Set in high school, it has the appearance of a slacker movie but the dialogue and plot of a Hammett or Chandler story from the classic days of film noir. Our hero (and I’m not at all sure that is the right word) is Brendan, who gets a call from his distressed ex-girlfriend who has got herself into trouble and needs his help. When he tries to find out what’s going on she puts him off, but then winds up dead and he decides to get to the bottom of what’s happening, and to exact revenge on her behalf.

It’s a film that manages to be fresh and all too familiar all at the same time. It’s every Humphrey Bogart movie you have ever seen except with drugs behind the bike shed and skipping classes instead of private eyes and dumb broads. It has bad guys too thick to know they’re being manipulated, a femme fatale, a criminal mastermind, a brainy sidekick, manipulation from the school administration and a hero who is constantly getting beaten up as he struggles to get to the truth.

I particularly liked Lukas Haas who is always worth watching and who is great as the drug dealer with not a bad empire for a young man who hasn’t long left school. And Gordon-Levitt is always a delight.

But.

I really wanted to love this film but I found it just too cold and detached for me. I’m really glad I saw it and I admire the intention and execution but I really wasn’t rooting for any of the protagonists, and I think that’s because hard-boiled dialogue from the mouths of teenagers just didn’t gel for me, I was always to conscious of the technique to become immersed in the film. Which is a shame.

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