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Sydney Film Festival - Day 12

by Michael Collins

The original plan for Day 12 was two films, yet I got shut out for The Descent. So that left Brick. I didn’t feel too bad about missing The Descent, as Brick was just so good and very interesting.

The Descent has a number of reviews already on our site and can be found here.

This brings us to Brick. A film that has a nice little premise and for 90% of the time was executed in a fine fashion. The premise was to take the classic film noir genre and put in into a modern high school setting.

That places the film at the risk of being too gimmicky, but writer/director Rian Johnson manages to keep clear of the clichés that could have harmed this film.

The storyline is very reminiscent for fans of film noir. Brendan – a high school student - receives a cryptic note from an ex-girlfriend, Emily, to meet her. The break up is still raw and when Brendan suspects something is wrong with Emily, his investigations drag him into organised crime and drug dealing.

And of course being a film noir-inspired, there’s femmes fatales aplenty to complicate things for Brendan.

The plot is rather complicated. Again in homage to film noir. You also have to listen carefully to the actors’ delivery that is also influenced by that great film genre.

The most appealing aspect of the film was the cinematography. While the film did not have a simple film noir look to it, per sé, the editing, the camera angles and lighting and the way the camera moved screamed of film noir. So the film was clearly acknowledging the genre without becoming too kitsch for the most part.

I say for the most part as there were moments when there was something that I guess were not intentionally funny. Sometimes the old school slang and mannerisms become a little over the top.

The film was evidently low budget and that helped. If it had looked too glossy it would have hampered the mood. The original film noirs were only blockbusters because of their cast, not because of the dollars seen on the screen.

This was the perfect Festival Film; Something unusual, rewarding and entertaining, although not something necessarily given a commercial release.

Next up for me in the festival with be United 93, and C.R.A.Z.Y.. Then it’s onto the closing night film, Thank You for Smoking where a review can be found here.

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originally posted: 06/23/06 11:05:53
last updated: 06/28/06 03:26:53
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