A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Brick is a highly stylized crime drama, wherein a teen detective tries to solve a case involving murder and cocaine. There is some strong violence, mostly punching and fighting, though characters are stabbed and shot (with blood shown). Teen pregnancy is discussed. A secondary character is a drug dealer, and though a "brick" of cocaine is shown, characters are not seen using drugs or high on drugs.
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What's the story?
High schooler Brendan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) receives a mysterious call for help from his ex-girlfriend Emily (Emilie de Ravin), who turns up dead not long after. With the help of his classmate "The Brain" (Matt O'Leary), Brendan begins an investigation. He goes undercover to meet "The Pin" (Lukas Haas), a notorious drug dealer who may have had something to do with Emily's death. But suspicious characters keep turning up: The Pin's hired muscle, Tugger (Noah Fleiss), a haughty drama student (Meagan Good), a tough talking slacker (Noah Segan), and a femme fatale, Laura (Nora Zehetner). On top of it all, the vice principal (Richard Roundtree) is breathing down Brendan's neck. Can Brendan solve the mystery and make it out alive?
Is it any good?
Rian Johnson made his writing and directing debut with this remarkably unique item -- an old-fashioned, stylized detective film transplanted intact to a modern high school setting. The dialogue in BRICK is the high point, mixing antique terminology and made-up slang with extreme conviction and coolness. The characters seem to have evolved to play certain kinds of roles in this enclosed universe; no two are alike, though each knows exactly what he or she wants.
Some viewers will no doubt be put off by the oddness of it all, and the stoic way the characters behave toward one another. But for the patient, a few very satisfying moments of tenderness provide entry points. Above all, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is onscreen almost all the time, gives an extraordinarily confident performance, channeling classic movie tough guys, but with his own personal touch: his floppy hair, glasses, and hands permanently clenched inside his jacket pockets tell volumes about him.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's violence. Does this high school seem more or less dangerous than a real high school?
What reasons would a high schooler have for trying drugs? What can adults say to teens to influence them away from drugs? Does this movie glamorize drugs or drug dealing at all?
What does the movie have to say about teen pregnancy?
Themes & Topics
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