Once I saw a video on YouTube of kids reenacting the film Scarface, pretty awesome and funny. There is also a gangster film starring kids as the main roles but I forget the name, it all ends on a big fight in a bar. It might not have been a bar. The point I’m making is the film Brick is like these two things, take a serious adult noir story and put teenagers as the role. Instant quirky appeal but does it work?
Brick tells the story of a girl in trouble due to a drug filled brick and how she ended up dead. It has a typically noir film set up with the protagonist Brendan being a bit of a jerk yet ultimately likable and a tragic girl for him to become involved with. It’s serious and actually a pretty decent story with investigations aplenty and a rather decent ending (minus one moment which seemed tacked on to add extra rage for our protagonist). The plot isn’t original and twists and turns are expected but it is interesting enough to go with the teenage cast idea.
The teenage cast offers a fresh take on noir but it doesn’t really add anything to the film, it even lessens the overall quality of it. The school setting could be interesting but you only really see the locker room, most of the other settings tend to be the usual detective locations such as gang houses and parties. The cast are clever, clever in a way which annoys. Brendan knows it all, acts arrogant, bosses the principal about and seems to have lessons of life despite being about sixteen. For such a deep film about drugs, trust, love and loss, the age of the characters and the way they act don’t really work for me. Brendan being in love with the girl who throws him away because of… just boiling the plot down to core points while thinking of the young casts makes me cringe a little. It takes itself far too seriously apart from one scene featuring the Pin’s mum pouring juice/milk for one of the gang members and it never truly becomes an immersive watch.
Brick is a nice try to offering noir in a fresh new way but it should have either brought the plot down to believable levels for the age group involved or took itself less seriously. I wasn’t sure how to take it all when watching, I just don’t like the idea of smug super intelligent teenagers who are falling apart because of true love. It often feels a little pretentious but by the end you just accept the way things are and an entertaining film can be found.