Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. 91
    A Big Sleep with underage bozos, a Maltese Falcon where the stuff that dreams are made of rests in the lockers of a well-worn high school, Brick is a remarkable oddity, audacious and engaging.
  2. 91
    Manages to be visually arresting, packed with geeky allusions to everything from Raymond Chandler to "Blue Velvet."
  3. Reviewed by: Jeremy Mathews
    90
    With brilliant dialogue out of the 1940s and graceful visuals that add depth to the dark comedy, Johnson debuts with a smart, self-assured feature that portrays adolescence like no other film has.
  4. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    88
    Brick is Bogart goes to high school, in other words, but that thumbnail description doesn't begin to convey the lasting pleasures of Rian Johnson's directorial debut.
  5. Johnson also grabs hold of a fundamental truth and seduces us with it: The schoolyard can be the noirest burg of all.
  6. It's reminiscent of David Lynch, who is a master at mixing the ghastly and the risible. Brick would be better with a bit more Lynch in its soul, but Johnson is his own man, and I look forward to what he comes up with next.
  7. Reviewed by: Duane Byrge
    80
    The mean streets don't get any nastier than the high school parking lots in this cool-crafted mystery.
  8. Reviewed by: Damon Wise
    80
    With a superb lead turn by rising star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rian Johnson’s debut is a smart, original neo-noir that works as an ingenious mindgame as well as a slick Hollywood calling card.
  9. 80
    Brick doesn't work 100 percent of the time, but it's a striking achievement, beautifully shot, often hilarious and occasionally moving.
  10. Johnson has taken a well-worn, much-revised genre, adapted to what's become a clichéd setting and transcended both in the process.
  11. 80
    All in all, this twerpy little movie is one of the most entertaining pictures to be released so far this year.
  12. 75
    "Sensational" is the word for Joseph Gordon-Levitt (equally striking in Mysterious Skin), who stars as Brendan, the teen outsider who becomes a budding Bogart.
  13. 75
    This movie leaves me looking forward to the director's next film; we can say of Rian Johnson, as somebody once said about a dame named Brigid O'Shaughnessy, "You're good. You're very good."
  14. 75
    It's Gordon-Levitt's pitch-perfect work that makes Brick a hardboiled treat.
  15. Reviewed by: Neva Chonin
    75
    A weird and near-perfect polyglot of indie art film and noir mystery.
  16. 75
    First-time writer-director Rian Johnson's gimmick is that his SoCal teens talk like film-noir yeggs and dames, slinging hard-boiled shade and spitting out terse, rat-a-tat dialogue peppered with slang that was yesterday's news 40 years before they were born. But the result is, against all odds, marvelously entertaining.
  17. Reviewed by: Ethan Alter
    75
    It takes a good fifteen minutes to fully adjust to the screenplay's rhythms, but once you do, the dialogue is a lot of fun to listen to.
  18. Mainly, it's a clever gimmick, cleverly wrought, offering further evidence that you can dress up the student body in all manner of garb for all types of genres.
  19. 75
    Brick is kinda brilliant and kinda demented, and you love it for the former far more than you hold the latter against it.
  20. The concept is clever and Johnson's brisk editing, dynamic camerawork and snazzy transitions has fun with it all. It makes for an inspired time-warped teenage film noir.
  21. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    70
    Writer-director Rian Johnson gives the usual teen angst an entertaining kick. But the joke wears off, and what's left is as convoluted and monotonous as any conventional hard-boiled mystery.
  22. 70
    Johnson pulls us into his world and keeps things oddly plausible, despite the intense stylization
  23. The hair may thin considerably under Brick's hat after a while, and Hammett redone remains Hammett half done, but while the plates are in the air, it's a spectacle of nerve.
  24. Reviewed by: Troy Patterson
    70
    Like the best noirs, Brick is a triumph of attitude, and there's no arguing that its brand of deadpan cool is precisely unique.
  25. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    70
    The story, while derivative, isn't half bad, and the picture gains in finesse and confidence to the point where Johnson more or less pulls off his peril-fraught exercise.
  26. Like a good campfire storyteller, writer-director Rian Johnson knows how to fuse the amusing and the edgy. And, in Brendan, he has created an endearing character.
  27. 70
    It's worth seeing for the tightly coiled plot, well-realized characters, and novel take on rapacious teen culture.
  28. Gordon-Levitt already proved in last year's "Mysterious Skin" his captivating command as a dramatic actor; with Brick he further demonstrates his remarkable dexterity and range.
  29. 63
    This is neither the noir world of old '40s movies, of which he's clearly fond, nor something new and original enough to fit the concept. Instead, it feels like a blueprint for someone else to figure out.
  30. Johnson combines the elements of classic 1940s film noir and "Rebel Without a Cause"-style teen angst in a movie that is as phony as it is ambitious. It's an A+ film school exercise with zero emotional or social impact.
  31. Has the inherent limits of all movies that feed on movies, rather than life -- it's original, yet it's not.
  32. Challenging to follow, at best.
  33. Alas, Brick, from writer-director Rian Johnson, isn't as clever as its conceit.
  34. It's all so seamy, sordid, lurid and shocking! And dull, despite a noirish gloss of wide-angle cinematography and a jaundiced, smoggy color scheme.
User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 126 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 46 out of 62
  2. Negative: 13 out of 62
  1. Jun 7, 2013
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. IF you can accept that Brick is a film about a bunch of high schoolers involved in their own drug trade, you'll love the film. If you try to use logic and disregard the seemingly implausible plot than you'll find the film tortuous. I for one loved the film and thought it was unbelievably believable. The kids are great and Rian Johnson directs with confidence and style. Absolutely amazing! Full Review »
  2. Feb 24, 2013
    2
    This movie has a great cast, a seemingly good story, and a ton of eye candy, but even with all that it has going for it. It was just weird. I didn't understand the code, the slang, or the point. I was looking forward to this one and I was incredibly disappointing. This is just one strange ass movie that you can avoid. Full Review »
  3. Nov 16, 2012
    5
    High school kids masquerading as characters from an old school hard boiled detective movie. This is an interesting premise, and one that you can tell Johnson probably wanted to make from the moment he decided he wanted to make movies. Unfortunately there is little going on of interest past the niche premise. Some of the acting and writing is pretty decent here, so you will not be bored. However there is nothing in the story or characters that makes you care what happens to them, which gives you no emotional tie to anything that ultimately happens. Overall a disappointing film. Full Review »