This Noirvember, check out Rian Johnson’s neo-noir thriller and debut feature, Brick. An homage to the hard-boiled detective fiction of Dashiell Hammett, Brick plays with recognizable film noir elements–archetypal characters, heightened dialogue, and a murky, twisting mystery plot–by placing them in a modern high school setting. Further differentiating his vision from expectations of film noir, Johnson eschewed low key lighting and hard shadows, and opted instead for a brighter visual style influenced by spaghetti westerns. Brick was recognized at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival with a Special Jury Prize for Originality of Vision.
Brendan Fry is a loner at his high school, someone who knows all the angles but has chosen to stay on the outside. When the girl he loves turns up dead, he plunges into the school’s social strata like a fist through a honeycomb to find the “who” and “why,” with the same single-minded devotion to his self-appointed task as the hard-boiled heroes of old. - Trevor Groth
Film still and poster courtesy of Brick/Focus Features.