User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 155 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 17 out of 155
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  1. DavidP.
    Feb 22, 2008
    10
    i think it is sad people rate this so low, mainly due to the fact that they have no mental capacity to truly understand the plot and all the little subtle clues. not to mention they speak the way they do because it is a take on a film noir movie neo-noir if you will, the movie is well produced and shot, not to mention the actors delved deep into their characters making the film noir theme i think it is sad people rate this so low, mainly due to the fact that they have no mental capacity to truly understand the plot and all the little subtle clues. not to mention they speak the way they do because it is a take on a film noir movie neo-noir if you will, the movie is well produced and shot, not to mention the actors delved deep into their characters making the film noir theme show through better. Expand
  2. EricS
    Feb 5, 2009
    10
    I thought everything about this movie yelled class (dialog, story, ambiance, costumes, direction) even though most of it takes place in a middle / lower-middle class environment.
  3. BradC
    Feb 18, 2009
    10
    Amazing movie. Quite different from other high school or murder mystery movies.
  4. theGuardian
    May 9, 2009
    10
    Brilliant film and an excellent way to bring noir to the kids that are missing out on it.
  5. Deunnero
    May 29, 2009
    9
    A great movie for a Friday night after a gruelling week of work. A throwback to films of old. I thought this had simliar tones to "The Night of the Hunter" personally. Highly recommended.
  6. MatthewF.
    Jun 15, 2009
    10
    My favorite movie of all time.
  7. SethP
    Jul 21, 2009
    10
    A damned good neo-noir.
  8. TarkoB.
    Mar 31, 2006
    9
    Pretty damn amazing when it works.
  9. LenW.
    Apr 4, 2006
    10
    The coolest hard-boiled teen crime drama of this or any year. Joseph Gordon-Levitt continues to turn out astonishing performances.
  10. RitB.
    Apr 10, 2006
    9
    Highschool kids talking and acting like 1940's gumshoes. Silly? --- yeah, maybe --- but it works very nicely and it's preferable to having to listen to teens say 'like' and 'you know' four hundred times an hour. You'll strain your ears trying to follow the smart dialog and your brain will work at hyperspeed in order to grasp and interpret it all but Highschool kids talking and acting like 1940's gumshoes. Silly? --- yeah, maybe --- but it works very nicely and it's preferable to having to listen to teens say 'like' and 'you know' four hundred times an hour. You'll strain your ears trying to follow the smart dialog and your brain will work at hyperspeed in order to grasp and interpret it all but it's all worthwhile. Fun movie that keeps up a good pace --- check it out. Expand
  11. ChrisK.
    Apr 10, 2006
    10
    This is an extremely entertaining and well-written film highlighted by yet another first-rate performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
  12. RichardW.
    Apr 10, 2006
    10
    Great movie, but you have to pay attention and really think about what you are seeing. If you just loaf along and expect everytihng to be painfully obvious, like on most TV shows, you won't get it, and you won't like Brick. But if you like getting into movies that force you to think, you'll love Brick. I liked it a lot the first time, and loved it the second time and got Great movie, but you have to pay attention and really think about what you are seeing. If you just loaf along and expect everytihng to be painfully obvious, like on most TV shows, you won't get it, and you won't like Brick. But if you like getting into movies that force you to think, you'll love Brick. I liked it a lot the first time, and loved it the second time and got much more out of it. Gordon-Levitt is amazing. Hard to imagine it's the same actor as on 3rd Rock or Mysterious Skin. Expand
  13. MaxF.
    Apr 15, 2006
    10
    I'm an age of "hard to please", and this gem pleasured me and two fellow film goers to the brim.. Screen play, direction, acting, and photography excelled. A lack of gutter words and the intro of new lingo added to the pleasure. Still a conversation piece days later.
  14. DWilly
    Apr 24, 2006
    7
    A great idea with a lot of nice directorial flourishes and always entertaining. There are real limitations with some of the actors and major confusions, but I guess this could also be considered consistent with the noir genre (I've heard it said that "The Big Sleep" flat out doesn't make sense). Well worth seeing.
  15. TrevorB.
    Apr 24, 2006
    10
    Joseph Gordan- Levitt has come along way, from 3rd Rock from the Sun. He's on well on his way to becoming a movie star. Rian Johnson has an uncanny ability with language that you don't hear everyday. I can't wait to see his follow up film.
  16. JulioF.
    May 12, 2006
    10
    Noir to its teeth. It's spectacular, consistent, and compact -- no small feat -- and the whole things plays out very nicely on screen.
  17. SeamusM.
    May 17, 2006
    7
    The first half hout or so i thought the film was really pretentious and boring. Then it gathered pace. i didn't think the dialogue was very realistic. Surely nobody talks like that.
  18. M.S.
    Jun 17, 2006
    10
    I've got one word for this film...awsome. This was a superb film I must say. The dialog alone was worth the ticket price and the hype but what is good dialog without an incredibly endearing and believable cast? This cast really pulled their weight, every single one of them acting as a cohesive ensemble and with it, creating an aura of fun suspense and mystery that can only be found I've got one word for this film...awsome. This was a superb film I must say. The dialog alone was worth the ticket price and the hype but what is good dialog without an incredibly endearing and believable cast? This cast really pulled their weight, every single one of them acting as a cohesive ensemble and with it, creating an aura of fun suspense and mystery that can only be found in black and white noir mysteries of a similar nature. The camera work was wonderful and the story was incredibly well written. The characters were totally engaging, I even felt a pang of sorrow for Dode when he got killed even though he was a slime bucket! I found it incredibly fresh that they would take the nostalgia of the eighties and highschool culture and food chains and use it as a play ground for a mystery. I also liked how it was all highschoolers in this underground society of misfits who were involved with crimes and investigations and research, it gave the film a refreshing authenticity rarely found in films today. To all of those who scorn it for doing what (literally) no noir mystery has done before...forget you. This was a seriously entertaining and effective film!. Expand
  19. JustinS.
    Jun 30, 2006
    7
    The acting was very good, but this movie has a number of flaws. For example, I found it hard to believe the Pin, a major figure in the local drug trade, still lives with his mother, How old is he supposed to be? I also had trouble following the plot except for its most basic outlines (perhaps it was too complex). It didn't help that I couldn't understand the dialog (I thought The acting was very good, but this movie has a number of flaws. For example, I found it hard to believe the Pin, a major figure in the local drug trade, still lives with his mother, How old is he supposed to be? I also had trouble following the plot except for its most basic outlines (perhaps it was too complex). It didn't help that I couldn't understand the dialog (I thought the actors were mumbling most of their lines or maybe I'm just not up to speed with the latest street slang). I'm going to have to rent the dvd so I can catch what all the actors are saying and what it means. Expand
  20. TheConundrum
    Jul 10, 2006
    8
    A great first effort. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, even when not being able to follow the tortuous plot. Yeah, yeah, some people won't be able to buy into the conceit of SoCal high school kids mouthing Raymond Chandler dialog, but that's their loss. A hard-boiled film noir in sunny Orange County -- pure gold. Ther are some great comic moments, too. Admittedly, the film is a A great first effort. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, even when not being able to follow the tortuous plot. Yeah, yeah, some people won't be able to buy into the conceit of SoCal high school kids mouthing Raymond Chandler dialog, but that's their loss. A hard-boiled film noir in sunny Orange County -- pure gold. Ther are some great comic moments, too. Admittedly, the film is a little rough around the edges, and the acting is inconsistent, but do you expect from a movie made for about $37.98? One last caveat: Although I want to encourage people to support the artists by seeing the movie an a theater, it would actually be better to wait for DVD and rent it. That way you'll be able to go back and catch some of the denser dialog you may have missed, or just pause the action to try to figure out what the heck is going on. I'm sure it would reward many viewings. Expand
  21. MattC.
    Jul 24, 2006
    8
    A very good film, overall, particularly for a first effort. The performances by Joseph Gordon-Leavitt was particularly powerful, appropriately, while Lukas Hass was very good and Nora Zehetner was breathtaking. The issue that people complain about, not being able to understand the language? That's really more of an issue with them, not the movie. I was able to understand it A very good film, overall, particularly for a first effort. The performances by Joseph Gordon-Leavitt was particularly powerful, appropriately, while Lukas Hass was very good and Nora Zehetner was breathtaking. The issue that people complain about, not being able to understand the language? That's really more of an issue with them, not the movie. I was able to understand it perfectly. My only real complaints would be: It could have stood being tightened up. When a 110 minute movie feels more like 180, you know it drags in places. Additionally, I felt the music could have been more agressive throughout the film. While I understand the usage of the jangly was supposed to convey a certain mood, the language and subject were more than enough to evoke that, and the soundtrack contributed, I think, to the feeling over of-length. Expand
  22. R.Thomas
    Jul 24, 2006
    9
    If your clever enough to follow the film and understand it, you'll love it. However it can be hard to do so, so don't bother unless your ready to sit down and get absorbed in it.
  23. JohnT.
    Aug 7, 2006
    8
    The cinematography of this movie is superb. unique camera angles and impressive acting. like many others said. it's a bit tough to follow the dialogue. sometimes they talk to quick and use word that you usually don't use in a sentence. that's how i felt the first time i watched it. BUT! watching it the second time around i totally caught on. if you're having troubleThe cinematography of this movie is superb. unique camera angles and impressive acting. like many others said. it's a bit tough to follow the dialogue. sometimes they talk to quick and use word that you usually don't use in a sentence. that's how i felt the first time i watched it. BUT! watching it the second time around i totally caught on. if you're having trouble with the dialogue. buy the dvd and watch the movie with subtitles. it WORKS...haha. Expand
  24. StacyB.
    Aug 21, 2006
    9
    dramatic montage and killer dialogue. this movie is definitely one of the best i've seen in a while.
  25. DanB.
    Aug 22, 2006
    8
    This was really good. I didn' think it dragged anywhere. And the folks who think the dialogue stunk cos "no one talks like that", I think they're missing the point? No one is supposed to talk like that, it's what they call a "conceit", that high schoolers are going to talk like gangsters in old time noir pictures? Anyway, the twist at the end had a bit less impact than it This was really good. I didn' think it dragged anywhere. And the folks who think the dialogue stunk cos "no one talks like that", I think they're missing the point? No one is supposed to talk like that, it's what they call a "conceit", that high schoolers are going to talk like gangsters in old time noir pictures? Anyway, the twist at the end had a bit less impact than it might have and there's certainly flaws, but the originality of making a noir pic in high school totally won me over. Expand
  26. PeteM.
    Aug 26, 2006
    10
    Brick is an intense and powerful noir piece with such riveting performances and stellar writing that it resonates well beyond its slightly gimmicky
  27. ChadS.
    Aug 28, 2006
    8
    It's the allusion to Martin Scorsese's mother in "Good Fellas" that really hooked me. Mrs. "Pin['s]" second appearance reminds me of Scorsese when she congratulates Joe Pesci's character for being made a "made man". You think "Brick" is like Larry Clarke's "Kids"(clueless parents) because the mother has such a homespun guileless quality when she's It's the allusion to Martin Scorsese's mother in "Good Fellas" that really hooked me. Mrs. "Pin['s]" second appearance reminds me of Scorsese when she congratulates Joe Pesci's character for being made a "made man". You think "Brick" is like Larry Clarke's "Kids"(clueless parents) because the mother has such a homespun guileless quality when she's entertaining Brendan(Joseph Gordon-Levitt). But no, there isn't a gulf between both the adult world and the "Bugsy Malone"-update world of these matriculating Hammetts. She knows her son is a gangster. "Brick" is almost Tarantino-like in its use of references to other movies. It is so clever, and unexpected. A lot of the fun comes from the filmmaker's use of extrapolation. For example, the femme fatale's true nature doesn't take place in a smoky bar, but on a... Expand
  28. H.Carter
    Sep 5, 2006
    8
    what a great little movie this is! I do love film noir so a friend had recommended this movie. --I was skeptical I admit, but other than a few times where the dialogue fell flat, the movie worked wonderfully through and through. The direction, writing, tight plot, cinematography/sets, the story--everything was impressive for whomever this first time writer/director is (much like Hustle what a great little movie this is! I do love film noir so a friend had recommended this movie. --I was skeptical I admit, but other than a few times where the dialogue fell flat, the movie worked wonderfully through and through. The direction, writing, tight plot, cinematography/sets, the story--everything was impressive for whomever this first time writer/director is (much like Hustle and Flow). however, if you're not a fan of noir movies, Brick does follow a lot of those concepts so it may not be the movie for you. However, I do think it does goes above and beyond the selling slogan of "updated noir set in high school". I highly recommend this film and can't wait to see what this new filmmaker will do next. Expand
  29. JeffS.
    Sep 11, 2006
    9
    Effortlessly guides the viewer into its own high concept and once hooked, the film is a pleasure to scrutinize. Not a film for easy viewing, but sure to be a repeat offender on cult-friendly dvd players. Easily one of the best films of 2006.
  30. DavidB.
    Sep 12, 2006
    10
    Yes. It's a ten. But then Dashiell Hammett is a favorite author, and Houston's Maltese Falcon a desert island movie. Rian Johnson captures the voice and tone of the American hard-boiled detective story perfectly. A couple of times I laughed with sheer pleasure how note-perfect the acting (Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Nora Zehetner are simply outstanding) and dialog were. This is the Yes. It's a ten. But then Dashiell Hammett is a favorite author, and Houston's Maltese Falcon a desert island movie. Rian Johnson captures the voice and tone of the American hard-boiled detective story perfectly. A couple of times I laughed with sheer pleasure how note-perfect the acting (Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Nora Zehetner are simply outstanding) and dialog were. This is the best detective story since Chinatown Expand
  31. DanC.
    Sep 30, 2006
    8
    This film seamlessly (and fearlessly) transfers film noir to an unlikely setting - it takes real chances and it succeeds. Especially good are the small moments of humor that remind the audience of where they are, without any of the wink-wink cleverness that could have undermined the atmosphere. A fascinating, visual inventive, and impressive film.
  32. LeahB.
    Oct 5, 2006
    10
    This film was purely entrancing.
  33. AlexS
    Dec 10, 2006
    9
    Being a fan of film noir hardboiled styles Brick came as a nice surprise when I was expecting a simple high-school drama. It's fast and well planned pacing draws you in, and you soon realise this is so much more than it seems. The characters seem entirely realistic; there being no real villain (I wouldn't classify the Pin as a villain), and a dark protagonist, seem like real Being a fan of film noir hardboiled styles Brick came as a nice surprise when I was expecting a simple high-school drama. It's fast and well planned pacing draws you in, and you soon realise this is so much more than it seems. The characters seem entirely realistic; there being no real villain (I wouldn't classify the Pin as a villain), and a dark protagonist, seem like real people you might find around any high-school social scene. The brilliant acting also brings the story to life as a film noir work. It can sometimes be a little hard to follow considering it's speed, but once you're on the level, it's a great story through-and-through. Expand
  34. KipM.
    Dec 19, 2006
    10
    What a feat. Rian Johnson is shaping up to be one of the best directors out of the mainstream today. His debut "Brick" is completely new take on both the detective and high school genres and blends them mostly seamlessly. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, miles away from his alternative teen idol days on "3rd Rock" and "10 Things I Hate about You," is absolutely brilliant as Brendan, alone by choice, What a feat. Rian Johnson is shaping up to be one of the best directors out of the mainstream today. His debut "Brick" is completely new take on both the detective and high school genres and blends them mostly seamlessly. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, miles away from his alternative teen idol days on "3rd Rock" and "10 Things I Hate about You," is absolutely brilliant as Brendan, alone by choice, who is smarter than anyone in the room and uses that to his advantage. The labyrinthe plot (involving an ex-girlfriend's murder and a giant web of drug dealers and users) is never too confusing or unnecessary. You learn every detail along with Brendan, piecing it together in search of closure and justice. The noir dialogue doesn't take you out of the plot; it envelops you into its world. Expand
  35. JS
    Jan 2, 2007
    10
    Brick bleeds Dashiell Hammett and it amazes me how seamlessly the filmmakers brought hard-boiled detective fiction to a high school setting.
  36. xiti
    Jan 26, 2007
    10
    I saw it by chance and I think it's very very interesting, it has a very intelligent script and a very good rhythm
  37. JW
    Feb 11, 2007
    10
    In my mind, the noirisms hit their stride when the character of Brain is introduced and he utters the line: "Lunch? Lunch is difficult...." A better summation of high school I've never heard. And NO LAPTOP! He got the reputation as "Brain," not by being a geek computer whiz or building robots, but by his detailed knowledge of social strata and teenage communication. In fact, aside In my mind, the noirisms hit their stride when the character of Brain is introduced and he utters the line: "Lunch? Lunch is difficult...." A better summation of high school I've never heard. And NO LAPTOP! He got the reputation as "Brain," not by being a geek computer whiz or building robots, but by his detailed knowledge of social strata and teenage communication. In fact, aside from a loner cell phone, most communication in the movie is done longhand - either person-to-person or in symbollic notes, etc. I love all of it. The Brat Pack movies have at last been put under. Expand
  38. DomenicP.
    May 3, 2007
    10
    This is a great take on the traditional noir. The actors all deliver surprisingly great performances for people their age, and Johnson's direction is pitch-perfect.
  39. DonalM.
    Sep 1, 2007
    10
    Absolutely fantastic film. Brilliant storyline, well told. Very little special effects, adds to the effect. Also found it witty at times.
  40. Aug 11, 2010
    8
    Film noir was one of cinemas most popular and most profitable genre or it uses to be back in the last stretch of the golden years in Hollywood (1940-1950). The last neo-noir the golden era pushed out was Orson Welles "Touch of Evil"(1958) while during its release, it was well received but it sadly failed to reignite the flame of a fading genre. Noir seemed almost dead until an up andFilm noir was one of cinemas most popular and most profitable genre or it uses to be back in the last stretch of the golden years in Hollywood (1940-1950). The last neo-noir the golden era pushed out was Orson Welles "Touch of Evil"(1958) while during its release, it was well received but it sadly failed to reignite the flame of a fading genre. Noir seemed almost dead until an up and coming director named Roman Polanski took on the dangerous task of trying to breathe new life into the deceased genre. I never thought it could be done someone being able to bring back one of cinema's most beloved genres but Polanski did it and his film "Chinatown"(1974) was the film that restarted the film noir genre. Launching a whole new era of Neo-Noirâ Expand
  41. Jun 29, 2011
    10
    Well written, Well acted, solid artful piece. The Film Noir/Hard boiled "who dunnit" feel fits really well in the director's childhood California high school setting while only feeling forced for brief moments. It's in my top ten films for sure. The pace is for the patient, and the entire vibe requires an understanding or appreciation of Film Noir. Maybe not for everyone, but I saw it asWell written, Well acted, solid artful piece. The Film Noir/Hard boiled "who dunnit" feel fits really well in the director's childhood California high school setting while only feeling forced for brief moments. It's in my top ten films for sure. The pace is for the patient, and the entire vibe requires an understanding or appreciation of Film Noir. Maybe not for everyone, but I saw it as an incredibly well written script with an obvious intended goal for the film. Expand
  42. Oct 20, 2012
    9
    It's a very fun unique film. Joseph Gordon Levitt and Rian Johnson's screenplay carry this film the distance. The dialogue is so well written and so emblematic of 40's crime novels and films it can but only put a smile on your face. And the actors are true to the premise from beginning to end. Not once winking at the audience.
  43. Nov 7, 2012
    8
    Brick has a language, and even a world of its own, and it is utterly fascinating.
  44. Jun 7, 2013
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand 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! Expand
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.