view from the hill

A look at the elements and events that come into view from where I'm standing...
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... the stuff that matters in this life. Some flicker and are gone in a matter of hours
only to live in memory, others become life long travelling companions, never far from reach.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Brick

brickCurrently residing in the why-didn't-I-think-of-that file is Brick, the great new film that takes the universe of 1940s film noir and drops it smack dab into a contemporary suburban high school. All the usual suspects of classic noir are here, the moody settings, murder, king pins, thugs, the femme fetal, and of course lightning-fast slang banter. This movie practically invents it's own language! At the Arclight in Hollywood, there's a crib sheet in the lobby to help audiences translate. But, like tuning your ear to Shakespeare, you quickly fold into the snappy soundscape and let the plot twists spiral you deeper into a stylized underbelly of this particular Southern California suburbia.

Brendan, our world weary outsider is the kind of guy who blends into the crowd. But don't take him for granted, this kid packs a punch, and he' s not afraid to get the crap beat out of him for a good cause. That good cause is finding who killed his ex, and why. The trail keeps pointing to the Pin, but if you ask for a show of hands if anyone's actually seen this Pin, you'll get a crowd of full pockets. There's heavies trying to prevent Brendan from digging deeper, and the vice principal is on his back as well.

brick1The movie is a great ride, but it's worth seeing for the sound design alone. This film is an audio feast, with trains rumbling by, distant seagulls, creaking floorboards and bodies thumping in car trunks. There's a great sequence where our hero is being chased on foot by a thug with a knife, and the drama practically hinges on the different sound their shoes make echoing through the corridors of the school. It's just a treat to listen to.

It's such a relief to see a movie that doesn't shy away from its originality. Brick plays it straight without winking at the audience. Do yourself a favor, keep your specs peeled for this one and spend some time with a modern classic.

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