Saturday, September 09, 2006

Where are You Eating Lunch?

Last night, I watched Rian Johnson's movie BRICK on video. I enjoyed it quite a bit. It reminded me of the quirky movies about teenagers that came out during the '80's like BLUE VELVET and THE RIVER'S EDGE, although it's not as surreal as VELVET and not as bleak as RIVER'S EDGE. Its conceit is that it's a Chandleresque film noir in which nearly all the characters are teenagers. (When an adult appears -- such as Richard Roundtree as a vice-principal who plays the friendly-cop role -- it's startling.) Joshua Gordon Levitt plays the protagonist, Brendan, a teenage private eye who's bespectacled (he puts the glasses away when he knows he's about to take a punch), speaks completely in Phillip Marlowe argot, smart in a pinch but dumb about sticking his nose into trouble, and better at absorbing punishment than dishing it out. The girls are all controlling and predatory, the police and school administration are useless except as Brendan's tools, Lukas Haas plays a twenty-something drug kingpin like a skinny Sidney Greenstreet, and Brendan's sidekick is a coke-bottle-glasses brain (named "Brain") who serves Brendan for some reason never mentioned, and urges him to "break some deserving teeth." It has a jazzy score, and some beautifully composed shots. It's well worth a Friday evening.

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