“Brick,” the dynamic debut feature from writer/director Rian Johnson, won the Sundance Film Festival’s Special Jury Prize for Originality of Vision.
“Brick,” while taking its cues and its verbal style from the novels of Dashiell Hammett, also honors the rich cinematic tradition of the hard-boiled noir mystery, here wittily and bracingly immersed in fresh territory – a modern-day Southern California neighborhood and high school. There, student Brendan Frye’s (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) piercing intelligence spares no one. Brendan is not afraid to back up his words with actions, and knows all the angles; yet he prefers to stay an outsider, and does – until the day that his ex-girlfriend, Emily (Emilie de Ravin of Lost), reaches out to him unexpectedly and then vanishes. Brendan’s feelings for her still run deep; so much so, that he becomes consumed with finding his troubled inamorata.