Brendan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a high school student whose presumed girlfriend Emily (Emilie de Ravin) is killed due to her involvement with a drug ring. In order to find out specifically what happened, Brendan, with the help of his only friend The Brain (Matt O'Leary) seeks out the drug ring leader The Pin (Lukas Haas) and his right hand man Tugger (Noah Fleiss). While working for The Pin, Brendan meets Laura (Nora Zehetner), not just the main love interest of the film but also the femme fatale.
I mentioned that Brendan is a high school student. This is only relevant as it could be used to identify the genre that this film is in. I would consider it a teen high-school neo-noire detective film. That's a mouthful, I know. Yes, a majority of it takes place in a high school but Brendan and The Brain are the only students that have a primary role. In addition to this, there is only one adult that actually does something and that's Assistant Vice Principal Truman who uses students to reveal information about each other (suddenly the name Truman doesn't seem so appropriate). The neo-noire side of the film is because Brendan is acting as a detective character in order to gather information about Emily.
Brick is not a film for everyone. I may have said it for other films but I really men it here. It's for a select audience really. Maybe this is the reason that it's an independent film rather than mainstream (other than the fact it isn't financed by a major corporation). It's full of violence, suspense, sexual references and it really isn't a comedy (I don't really know why you would expect it to be anyway. Look at the picture at the top. Does that look funny to you?!).
Joseph Gordon-Levitt does an excellent job playing Brendan. He definitely is not a hero. Not even close. He is portrayed as neutral or an anti-hero. He only does what he needs to do in order to get the information. He doesn't take sides, he only helps to be helped in return and doesn't plan on saving anyone. He only looks out for himself. Gordon-Levitt really captures this look of all the ideas I just listened. He comes off as a tortured soul.
Brick is an unconventional film that definitely is not for everyone's taste. While it has some excellent acting and a decent story, there are too many problems for a full recommendation such as how many enigma codes there are. I'm fine with some unanswered questions but here, there are just way too many. It hinders the film but it's by no means a terrible film.