Brendan Frye (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, "Mysterious Skin") is a Sam Spade-like high school junior whose piercing intelligence spares no one, even himself. When his ex-girlfriend Emily (Emilie de Ravin of TV's "Lost") reaches out to him, then pushes him away, and is later found dead in a storm drain, Brendan sets out to find out what happen with the relentless intensity with which Bogart searched for the Maltese Falcon. What he uncovers is a mess that includes all of the archetypal characters of the best of noir, from "Out of the Past" to "In A Lonely Place," with particular allusions to "The Big Sleep."
While "Brick" is chock-full of the characters, language and imagery of classic noir, it is in fact set among contemporary teenagers. It's a gimmick, but it's a damn fine gimmick, well-executed by writer/director Rian Johnson and star Gordon-Levitt. "Brick" won the well-deserved Special Jury Prize for Originality of Vision at the Sundance Film Festival, among other notable awards, and deservedly so. If you're a bright cookie, you'll pickup on the skinny and take it on the heel-and-toe and catch this one before the little drummer-boy breaks a stick. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Nora Zehetner, Lukas Haas, Emilie de Ravin, Noah Fleiss, Meagan Good and Matt O'Leary. Directed and written by Rian Johnson. Produced by Ram Bergman, Susan Dynner, Dana Lustig, Mark Mathis and Angela Roessel. A Focus release. Crime drama. Rated R for violence and drug content. Running time: 110 min.