Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Brick Movie Poster Image
Smart, stylized teen whodunit with violence and drugs.
  • R
  • 2006
  • 110 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

A teen tries to solve a crime, but it's likely that his motivations are more selfish than having to do with the greater good.

Positive Role Models & Representations

A fascinating, but flawed, high school teen uses his brains and wits to solve a crime, but he also resorts to trickery, lying, and violence. In his dealings, he treats people with disrespect, giving orders and refusing to trust anyone.


Most of the violence here consists of teens beating each other up. One violent character called "Tug" especially uses his fists for everything. A dead body is shown. The main character gets his face bloodied and bruised and is knocked unconscious. A character is stabbed, with blood shown. Guns are drawn, and one character is shot and killed. An intense climactic scene is depicted through sounds of screaming, fighting, and shooting, though nothing is shown.


There's some discussion of a teen girl being pregnant, and some background kissing is shown.


The movie's highly stylized language leaves very little room for vulgar words, but "damn," "hell," and "butt" can be heard roughly once each. A character mutters something that sounds like "s--t" under his breath in one scene; it may pass by unnoticed.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A secondary character is a drug dealer, and most of the characters in the film either work for him or associate with him. Some minor characters are said to be drug users, but no one is seen actually using or high on drugs. A "brick" of cocaine is shown. An unseen character is said to have died from taking "bad" drugs.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 16-year-old Written byDworkin October 27, 2018

Exceptionally well-made modern noir

I watched this with my 14 year old son. Honestly, if this film were made in the 1940's, we would probably be studying it in film classes. The performances... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byBestPicture1996 September 23, 2013

Extraordinary throwback genre film!

I was thrown for a loop when the film started out: all, yes all of the characters speak in a hyper-stylized lingo that winks heavily at the hardboiled 40's... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bycaatherine September 15, 2013


pretty good. Joseph gordan levitt is amazing in this film. i would recommend this

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?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love high school stories

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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