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Laramie Movie Scope: Brick

Teen whodunit movie with its own language

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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December 26, 2006 -- “Brick” is a sort of high school whodunit, peopled by various tough-guy characters, double-dealers, slackers and drug dealers. Everybody speaks in a kind of choppy code that sounds like text-messaging. It is a dense, impenetrable slang that I assume means something to somebody. About the only thing I could make out was the word “bull,” which is slang for the police. I was able to make out enough of the lingo to follow what was going on, though. Thank God the DVD had subtitles. It did not have a glossary, but there is one at the Brick official web site. I have included a partial glossary below and suggest you at least read it before you see this film.

Brendan (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt of “Mysterious Skin”) gets a call from his ex-girlfriend, Emily (Emilie de Ravin of “The Hills Have Eyes”). Emily is hysterical and her call incoherent. Brendan knows something is wrong, so he decides to investigate. Following a clue, he comes across her lifeless body in a remote ditch. She has been murdered. Figuring the cops would just screw up the investigation, he hides the body and starts his own investigation, with the help of his smart buddy, appropriately known as The Brain (Matt O'Leary of “Spy Kids 3D: Game Over”). He finds that Emily's death is linked to school and community drug dealers, so he decides to infiltrate the drug business to get to the bottom of the mystery.

He runs across various tough guys. Although Brendan looks like a geek, he is a lot tougher than he looks and he is smarter than all the toughs and dealers he runs up against. He devises a way to not only find out who killed Emily, but to make them pay the price for their foul deeds. This film has been likened to a film noir detective story. It didn't really seem that way to me, but it is a good whodunit with some references to films made in the 1940s, complete with a two-fisted detective-type who is a lot like Phillip Marlowe. Other characters in the film include The Pin (Lukas Haas of “The Darwin Awards”), Tugger (Noah Fleiss of “The Laramie Project”), Laura (Nora Zehetner of “Heroes” TV series). Veteran actor Richard Roundtree, who once owned the role of John Shaft, is an assistant high school principal this time around. Meagan Good (“Roll Bounce”) plays high school hottie, Kara. Brian J. White (“Venice Underground”) plays high school tough guy and drug dealer, Brad Bramish. This film rates a B.

I could have used the following glossary prior to seeing the film. Lucky you. I am providing a partial glossary here:
Dose: To take drugs.
Duck soup: Easily done.
Gat: A gun.
Gum: To screw up.
Heel: To leave.
Hop: Drugs.
Pick: To get a ride.
Reefworm: A drug addict.
Shine: Showing a weapon.
Scape or Yeg: Scapegoat or fall guy.
Scraped: Borrowed.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics, theater tickets and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2006 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)