Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 129 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , , ,
  • Summary: Brick, while taking its cues and its verbal style from the novels of Dashiell Hammett, also honors the rich cinematic tradition of the hard-boiled noir mystery, here wittily and bracingly immersed in fresh territory – a modern-day Southern California neighborhood and high school. (Focus Features)
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. Johnson also grabs hold of a fundamental truth and seduces us with it: The schoolyard can be the noirest burg of all.
  3. 80
    Brick doesn't work 100 percent of the time, but it's a striking achievement, beautifully shot, often hilarious and occasionally moving.
  4. 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.
  5. 70
    Johnson pulls us into his world and keeps things oddly plausible, despite the intense stylization
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

See all 34 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 46 out of 62
  2. Negative: 13 out of 62
  1. Jun 29, 2011
    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 as an incredibly well written script with an obvious intended goal for the film. Expand
  2. Oct 20, 2012
    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. Expand
  3. Aug 11, 2010
    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 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
  4. Jun 7, 2013
    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
  5. Nov 16, 2012
    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. Expand
  6. Nov 5, 2010
    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.
  7. Feb 24, 2013
    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. Expand

See all 62 User Reviews