Thursday, October 26, 2006

Brick -- what kind of hero is Brendan?

Brick (2005, Focus Features, dir. Rian Johnson) was a sensational indie flick, that presents a high school student Brendan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) "working undercover" with the half-approval of the school, to infiltrate a drug ring. The film is fast-paced, and he outfoxes his adversaries with simple mechanical means, like by extending a leg when hiding.

A couple things here. There have been some debates about what was in the "brick." It doesn't matter, because the story works in any case.

There was controversy about the focus (pun intended with the movie company) of the character. Brendan, who seems geeky but turns into a kind of practical superman, is focused upon the disappearance of his ex girl friend. The film fans out from an opening or early scene at the opening of a sewer drainage tunnel, and it stays at that simple visual level.

Nevertheless, Brendan falls in line with other teen or young adult heros in current television series (ranging from Clark in Smallville, Ephram in Everwood, Sam and Dean in Supernatural, or even Holden in Kids in America. The film keeps a tight visual and narrative focus in order to keep the audience hooked, and it stayed within a budget of less than a half million dollars.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a young actor to watch. This "film noir" is now available on DVD.

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