User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 154 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 17 out of 154
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  1. MichaelM.
    May 21, 2006
    0
    This film is what you would get if you gave a bunch of talented 10th grade students unlimited access to the school's audio visual department. But unfortunately, even the most talented 10th graders can't make a watchable commercial film, except maybe a film made for other 10th graders who happen to go to the same school. It seemed that the screenwriter's goal was to pack the This film is what you would get if you gave a bunch of talented 10th grade students unlimited access to the school's audio visual department. But unfortunately, even the most talented 10th graders can't make a watchable commercial film, except maybe a film made for other 10th graders who happen to go to the same school. It seemed that the screenwriter's goal was to pack the dialogue full of as much cool-sounding slang as he could, whether it got in the way of writing a good script or not. This drivel was muttered nearly unintelligably by all the "actors" in this children-trying-to-act-like-grownups mess. How anyone could rate this over a zero is a total mystery to me--I assume it was a gift, so as not to discourage the budding young talent. I had exactly the same feeling about this film as I did about Dogville, except I felt much worse about the latter, because it was made by adults who had no excuse. Come to think of it, if you loved Dogville, you will probably love this film.--please rush out and buy a ticket so I won't feel so bad about wasting my own money. Expand
  2. MarcH.
    Apr 10, 2006
    3
    Boring! Very difficult to follow. I fell asleep 3 times, which never happens to me. (Perhaps I'm just not a fan of the film noir genre.)
  3. DavidH.
    Sep 24, 2006
    3
    While one is hard-pressed to write off the allusions to hard-boiled film noir as inaffectionate or insincere. The end result is still insipid and incapable of retaining interest. The villain known as the
  4. deebbeeb
    Oct 1, 2009
    2
    Too painful to watch, I could only withstand about 30 minutes of this comic caper. No character development at all, I wished the main protaganist would die horribly.
  5. BrittaL.
    Jun 12, 2010
    0
    The plot is inexpressibly below the belt. Another boring college setting. Young spoiled students meet each other at school yards, bee eaters and in upperclass parties and try too much to look like "we make an independent film", but with good looking girls and with extraordinary pseudo-intellectual dialogs. But they are not intellectual, not even pseudo. It looks like college kids are The plot is inexpressibly below the belt. Another boring college setting. Young spoiled students meet each other at school yards, bee eaters and in upperclass parties and try too much to look like "we make an independent film", but with good looking girls and with extraordinary pseudo-intellectual dialogs. But they are not intellectual, not even pseudo. It looks like college kids are trying to be Wim Wenders, David Lynch and Stanley Kubrik all together. It makes me feel embarrassed for somebody else. What next? A John Cassavetes wanna-be film with preteens? C'mon! Expand
  6. Nov 5, 2010
    3
    I am a big fan of film noir and I am open to the concept of neo-noir but this didn't do anything for me. It seemed to be off the pace that it should be keeping up with and although it has some good noir elements to it it didn't provide much entertainment value.----
    ACTING was all round quite odd. The characters seemed pretty unrealistic and dull to me, although there was some good acting.
    I am a big fan of film noir and I am open to the concept of neo-noir but this didn't do anything for me. It seemed to be off the pace that it should be keeping up with and although it has some good noir elements to it it didn't provide much entertainment value.----
    ACTING was all round quite odd. The characters seemed pretty unrealistic and dull to me, although there was some good acting. I have to be honest, Gordon Levitt was more or less abysmal. ----PLOT. All the characters seemed dark and there was constant themes of mistrust, which is obviously in keeping with the noir side. Except, film noir was made at a dark time (40s-50s) and I think that now, it is irrelevant to use the same plot devices and themes. It just doesn't work, especially with a colour picture. ----DIRECTING. It was OK, but it didn't save this film from being a drag. ----CINEMATOGRAPHY: Well, a dark theme film and there is a dark tone to it, but I think the film was too active and full on as oppose to being kept subtle with clever fighting scenes blended in, like a noir film should be. ----Overall, I thought the idea of basing a noir in a high school COULD have been good, but was ultimately risky and in the end I think it just didn't work. A modern day Noir (neo noir) shouldn't stray too far away from the old 40s/50s films, after all, it is based on them. Too many elements were changed in Brick and the elements that remained didn't fit it as a result of the off-pace story and the unnecessarily unspecific character depth. Remember, characters like Sam Spade were dark, suspicious and cynical, but not completely distant to the point where we can't relate to them. ----Final thought: Brick tries to borrow from the classic noir but by trying to make it too modern it's changed the dynamic and become a failure.
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  7. RichardC.
    Aug 11, 2006
    3
    The sound was very mushy, so I turned on the captions, and when I saw what the characters were saying, the dialogue is almost laughable. Nobody talks like that. It detracted from what might have been a reasonably decent storyline. The sound track was also a distraction. It just didn't work for me.
  8. AviS.
    Aug 15, 2006
    3
    [***SPOILERS***] This movie just didn't do it for me. Pretentious and over-rated. It felt like I had watched a totally different movie to those who gave it high ratings. Or maybe it's a movie where it's cool to say you enjoyed it and "got" it. I really wanted to like this movie. The characters were two-dimensional, the acting was lacklustre, and the story just didn't [***SPOILERS***] This movie just didn't do it for me. Pretentious and over-rated. It felt like I had watched a totally different movie to those who gave it high ratings. Or maybe it's a movie where it's cool to say you enjoyed it and "got" it. I really wanted to like this movie. The characters were two-dimensional, the acting was lacklustre, and the story just didn't flow. It just wasn't believable; A scrawny kid being able to threaten to beat up a group of half a dozen local tough kids? Didn't buy it. And these kids were supposed to be high school students, but they never went to school? It really did feel as if the screenplay and movie was done by a bunch of high school students. Only the musical score was decent. They should've set this movie back in the 1920's, and use known grown-up actors. If you're into the Film Noir genre, you're better off checking out other movies like "Memento", "The Usual Suspects", "Blade Runner", "Se7en", or the recent "Edmond" with the under-rated William H. Macy. Expand
  9. JohnN.
    Aug 16, 2006
    3
    Took me 3 days to watch because I kept falling asleep. What the heck were they even saying...who talks like that?! Get real! Made very little sense.
  10. JohnH.
    Aug 18, 2006
    3
    I had high expectations for this movie due to the trailer, and I was very disappointed. The dialogue in this film is pretentious to the point of absurdity, and ruined what could have been a decent film. Don't even waste your time on this drivel.
  11. MarcK.
    Aug 26, 2006
    3
    Beverly Hills 90210 on steroids. Pretentious and over-rated. Between the muttering of the actors, and the unreal slang, I actually had to turn the sub-titles on my DVD to figure out what the heck was going on. It barely helped.
  12. DavisR.
    Aug 29, 2006
    0
    this film is tied with Kevin Smith's dreadful Clerks 2 as the worst film of the year. Besides the dialogue which is obviously the worst thing about this film, it is Joseph Gordon-Levitt who propels this disaster toward "Rushmore"-territory. Just because a hack like Gregg Araki sees the irony in casting the kid from 3rd Rock from the Sun in his borefest Mysterious Skin, now everyone this film is tied with Kevin Smith's dreadful Clerks 2 as the worst film of the year. Besides the dialogue which is obviously the worst thing about this film, it is Joseph Gordon-Levitt who propels this disaster toward "Rushmore"-territory. Just because a hack like Gregg Araki sees the irony in casting the kid from 3rd Rock from the Sun in his borefest Mysterious Skin, now everyone wants to cast this American version of Kal Penn in their movies. It's not fair to say he ruined this film because had he been replaced with Curtis Jackson the film would still be a failure. Johnson delivers the worst film debut since Reservoir Dogs and unless you want to waste 2 hours of your life stay far away. Expand
  13. 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.
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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.