Rian Johnson may have delivered an uneasy Star Wars film and a solid enough sci-fi movie, but I was intrigued to find out how he fared in straight talking drama movies. It’s lucky then that Brick exists, with Johnson stripped of his CGI and special effects, replacing them with dialogue and Joseph-Gordon Levitt.
Johnson without his blaring visual effects and meddlesome time travel is a rather strange product. Writing the story himself, he clearly knows which way he wants his plot to unravel, along with knowing exactly what he wants from his cast. Or at least you’d think that, however the sporadic aimlessness and stylistic padding is enough to portray a more broken story than you would expect at first glance.
I remember the box or the trailer saying something about how this up and coming cast would be the next wave of Hollywood. At least they were somewhat right about Levitt, other than that it’s a cast filled with nobodies. Sub-par supporting actors that were projected to be the next big thing with the right direction, but instead went on to take smaller roles in bigger movies. Lukas Haas is a name I’ve heard before, unfortunately he doesn’t do much to stand out in Brick.
Brick feels like a better version of Donnie Darko, and I found Donnie Darko to be a pretty bland watch. With Brick suffering from the same setting troubles, this high school drama at least has a handful of merits about it. Gordon-Levitt’s performance is superb and he brings the script to life as best he can. Johnson’s direction is more experimental, he’s definitely still trying to find his comfort zone in this film, and it leads to some highs and lows in the cinematography department.
A solid enough teenage drama movie that derails far too often. Not enough to ruin the experience, but enough to make a noticeably negative impact on the standing of the film as a whole. Even then, its shallow portrayal of student and teenage life is one filled with strange and subliminal surprises the whole way through. An interesting mix of some very good and strangely poor ideas.