When a secret crush turns up dead and the murderer is anyone's guess, teenage loner Brendan Fry is forced to navigate his school's social network through intense interactions with thespians, band geeks and druggies.

Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”

California high schools have been the setting for everything from time-traveling stoner comedies to alien-invader horror flicks, so why not a hard-boiled detective noir? Brick takes the concept and sprints with it, delivering line after line of brilliantly punchy, rapid-patter dialogue that springs from pulp gumshoe novels of the 1930s. It's a ticklish joy for viewers who enjoy sharp wit and actors who can keep up with the pace, and almost qualifies the movie as a comedy despite the dark neo-noir at the core of its complex plot. There's a smooth, efficient style to the film's look as well, with a harrowing foot-chase that ends with an unexpected abruptness, and a sparseness of detail in the environments that suggests they're unrealistic archetypes as much as the characters are. A premise this challenging and prone to self-serious camp can only succeed with total commitment from the cast and writer-director Rian Johnson, and it's a qualified and highly entertaining success.

− March 18, 2007 • more by Scottlog in or create an account to reply

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