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->'''Brendan''': I can't let her go. I was set to, but I can't. I don't think I can.
->'''The Brain''': You think you can help her?
->'''Brendan''': No.
->'''The Brain''': You think you can get the straight? Maybe break some deserving teeth?
->'''Brendan''': Yeah. I think I could.

Take FilmNoir, a generous dose of high school intrigue, a dash of Creator/DavidLynch, and toss them all into a blender. What you get is probably going to be ''Brick''. [[{{Metaphorgotten}} That, or charges for the murder of David Lynch.]]

A 2006 cult film directed/written by Creator/RianJohnson, ''Brick'' tells the story of Brendan Frye (Creator/JosephGordonLevitt), a teenage loner silently pining over his ex-girlfriend, Emily. When he gets a phone call from a panicked Emily, and finds her dead in a storm drain soon after, he goes on a one-man quest to bring her murderer(s) to justice, blowing the lid off of his high school's underworld of drugs and crimes.

Even though it takes place in the modern day, the characters in ''Brick'' all speak in an invented slang closely based off of vernacular speech in the '20s, '30s, and '40s. The high school social cliques match surprisingly well with traditional noir archetypes. Much like its inspirations (such as the noir classic, ''Film/TheMalteseFalcon''), one of Brick's main strengths is in its hard-boiled dialogue. The film also boasts excellent cinematography and strong performances.

!! This film provides examples of:

* {{Adorkable}}: The Brain is practically the poster boy for the trope. Also somewhat present in Brendan.
* AdultsAreUseless: Played straight. The only adults we ever see on screen are the Vice-Principal, who depends on Brendan to tell him what's going on (see DaChief, below) and the Pin's mom, who's either totally oblivious to her son's business or doesn't care. Laura's mom is there at the party, but we see just enough of her to make it clear that she's completely hands-off.
* AffablyEvil: The Pin. After having Tug pummel Brendan for information, The Pin rewards Brendan's co-operation by having his mom make breakfast.
%%* AllAccordingToPlan
* AmateurSleuth: Brendan Frye, who's too young to actually be the private eye he acts like.
* {{Animesque}}: The film is created with the same shot composition and editing an anime would have. Brendan has the look of a [[Anime/CowboyBebop Spike Spiegel]] {{expy}}.
* AntiHero: Brendan makes it clear from the beginning that he does things for his own purposes, not for the greater good.
* AwesomeByAnalysis: Brendan. His greatest asset is his ability to pay very close attention to certain details and draw logical conclusions.
* BadassBoast: "Throw one at me if you want, hash head. I've got all five senses and I slept last night, which puts me six up on the lot of you."
* BadassBookworm: Brendan, who divides his time between kicking ass and doing research.
* BasementDweller: [[spoiler:The Pin, who runs a drug smuggling empire from his mom's basement.]]
* BigBadFriend: [[spoiler: Laura acts like Brendan's new love interest throughout the film, but she's really the final villain]].
* BlackAndGrayMorality: Brendan rides the line between [[AntiHero hero and villain]] but the BigBad is a real piece of work.
* BlindWithoutEm: Brendan, who even makes sure to take them off even if he ''thinks'' he's going to get hit.
* BittersweetEnding: Overlaps with DownerEnding. [[spoiler:Brendan gets his revenge and comes away with only a few cuts and bruises, but his pursuit doesn't bring him closure, and even sees several people (Dode included) getting killed in the process.]]
* BondOneLiner: Brendan gets one in on Kara when he shoves her out of her dressing room in the buff.
-->'''Kara:''' What are you doing???!!!
-->'''Brendan:''' Showing your ace.
* TheBrute: Tug. Seriously, do not so much as look at him funny if you like having teeth.
%%* CatapultNightmare
* TheChampion: In the backstory, Brendan Frye went to such lengths to protect his junkie girlfriend from cartels and drug rings so much she ended up breaking off their relationship and diving into the underground herself. [[PlotTriggeringDeath Her death kicks off the movie.]]
* TheChanteuse: Laura. Although she doesn't sing, she does recite a poem for her party guests.
* ChaseScene: [[spoiler:When a junkie pulls a knife on Brendan.]]
* ChekhovsGun: If you're not paying attention during the first five minutes of the movie, you miss a detail that will be extremely important later [[spoiler: namely, the blue arrow on the cigarette thrown from the car]].
* TheChessmaster: [[spoiler: Laura, as the BigBad. Brendan is a heroic example.]]
%%* {{Chiaroscuro}}
* ClothingReflectsPersonality: Brendan has a jacket that comes off each time he loses control of his emotions, and his glasses seem to come off each time he expects to get "hit" either physically or emotionally.
* CoDragons: [[spoiler:After Brendan becomes the mole, and ends up sharing the position rather quickly, acting as the brains to Tug's brawns.]]
* CombatPragmatist: Brendan utilizes knee stomps, sucker punch haymakers, baseball slides from blind corners and even [[EnemyCivilWar enemy infighting]] in order to see the case through.
* CoolShades: Brendan wears them sometimes.
* CurbStompBattle: There are several of these throughout the film, and a lot of different characters wind up on the receiving end. Not surprisingly, Tug perpetrates most of them, but every so often we see that Brendan can give as good as he gets.
* DaChief: In this case, Assistant Vice Principal Trueman, played by none other than Creator/RichardRoundtree, aka... Film/{{Shaft}}!
* DeadHandShot: An alternate poster and an image used prominently in the movie.
* DeadpanSnarker: Several characters, but Brendan is the most awesome:
-->'''Brad:''' Yeah?
-->'''Brendan:''' Yeah.
-->'''Brad:''' ...Yeah?
-->'''Brendan:''' There's a thesaurus in the library, yeah's under "Y." Go ahead; I'll wait.
** And after Brendan beats Brad in a fight:
-->'''Random Girl:''' Was there a fight?
-->'''Brendan:''' ''Yeah.''
%%* DescriptionPorn: See PrivateEyeMonologue.
* {{Determinator}}: Brendan. He lets Tug beat the crap out of him, infiltrates a drug ring, and involves himself in a gang war all out of his love for Emily.
* DidTheyOrDidntThey: The scene near the end between Brendan and [[spoiler: Laura]] was shot with the footage in the film, but then continued when he took off her shirt. Then the scene faded back in with them smoking and her putting it back on and rearranging her clothes. WordOfGod says they did, but he edited the film to leave the doubt because they wouldn't in the land of fiction.
* DidWeJustHaveTeaWithCthulhu: Brendan in the Pin's kitchen, being given breakfast by [[EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas the Pin's mom]].
* DisposableWoman: Emily, whose death causes the plot.
* DisturbedDoves
* DownLADrain: The film involved a murder that took place in a tunnel in the viaduct system.
%%* TheDragon: Tug.
* DragonInChief: [[spoiler:Pin, while the mastermind behind the drug ring, is hopelessly outmatched when Tug attacks him.]]
%%* DueToTheDead
%%* DumbMuscle: Tug.
%%* DutchAngle: Used occasionally.
* EasterEgg: On the DVD Bonus menu, find and select the tunnel on the screen. If it gets a blue outline, click select, and you can watch a student film of Rian Johnson's called, "Ninja-Ko: The Origami Master."
* EarnYourHappyEnding: A bittersweet one, at least. [[spoiler: After getting beat to hell a couple times, getting in a half dozen fights, outsmarting another few folks high up on the food chain, and surviving the first shots of a potential gang war, Brendan finally gets to rest knowing that he punished the people that were behind Emily's murder.]]
* EatingLunchAlone: Inverted, since Brendan does this by choice.
* EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas: [[spoiler: The Pin, whose mom serves corn flakes and apple juice to him and his criminal associates]].
* EvilCripple: The Pin, who uses a cane.
* {{Expy}}: Laura is one of Brigid O'Shaughnessy from TheMalteseFalcon.
* FemmeFatale: Laura Dannon, who attempts several failed passes at Brendan, who knows better than to trust her off the bat.
* FilmNoir: The name of the game.
* FiveFiveFive
* ForegoneConclusion: Emily dies. Kind of a 'duh' statement considering the very first shot is of Emily lying facedown in a ditch.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: [[spoiler: In the beginning, when Emily calls Brendan she already mentions a girl who told her to deal with the brick.]] If you notice the cast, aside from [[spoiler: Em,]] there's only one girl that's really involved in the action.
* FramingTheGuiltyParty: Brendan has Brain call the police and tell them drugs are in Tug's car. [[spoiler: He's actually put Emily's dead body in the trunk.]]
* GoodSmokingEvilSmoking:
-->'''Brendan:''' You got a cigarette?\\
'''Tug:''' I don't smoke.\\
'''Brendan:''' I've ''seen'' you smoke.\\
'''Tug:''' I don't smoke ''cigarettes.''
* GuileHero: Brendan. He can handle himself in a fight, but his wits are his real weapon. [[spoiler:He brings down the Pin's organization by manipulating events so Tug ends up turning on him.]]
%%* GunStruggle
* HairTriggerTemper: Practically a defining trait for Tug, who isn't afraid to use his fists on a whim. [[spoiler:Becomes much more literal when Dode, unknowingly threatening him, is promptly silenced with a beating then a bullet in the face.]]
* TheHeavy: The BigBad relies on [[spoiler:his lackey, Tug]] to perpetrate the crimes involved in this convoluted plot.
* HighSchool: In addition to taking place in a high school, Brick was filmed in San Clemente High School, which the director once attended.
* HeroicBSOD[=/=]HeroicRROD: Brendan gets one of each. The latter is ongoing, and actually pretty disturbing in the implication of just how much internal organ damage he's dealing with.
* HollywoodHealing: Averted. [[spoiler: The constant beatings that Brendan suffers take an obvious toll as the film progresses, leading to a HeroicRROD]].
* HowWeGotHere: The movie starts with Emily's death and the whole plot revolves around Brendan discovering how she died.
* IJustWantToHaveFriends: Out of nowhere, the Pin strikes up a conversation with Brendan about Creator/JRRTolkien, showing how desperately lonely he is.
* IWorkAlone: Brendan's modus operandi.
%%* InformationBroker
* TheIngenue: Subverted with Emily. Even though she is the main character's love interest and TheLostLenore, it is soon revealed that she left him to date a drug addict, [[spoiler: tried to join the inner circle of a prominent drug dealer, and had sex with the aforementioned drug addict and the dealer's head enforcer.]] All within a span shorter than three months.
* InstantDeathBullet: Played straight with [[spoiler:Dode]], who falls dead immediately. Subverted with a random {{mook}}, however, who manages to stumble into a room full of characters and explain [[spoiler:the last brick has been stolen]] before finally dying.
* InverseDialogueDeathRule: Subverted, as [[spoiler:Dode]] is a very important character who gets the shit punched out of him and is promptly killed before he can get a word in edgewise.
* JackBauerInterrogationTechnique: Tug, who spends a few scenes simply asking Brendan a question, and then hitting him when he doesn't like the answer.
* JerkJock: Mostly played for laughs in the form of Brad Bramish.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Dode, though his heart of gold probably has a few impurities.
* KnowledgeBroker: The Brain provides Brendan with intel on the situation at the school.
* LadyInRed: Laura, the FemmeFatale, wears a red {{Qipao}} when Brendan meets her.
* LampshadeHanging: Hung immediately after the entry for NotInThisForYourRevolution:
-->'''Ass. VP Trueman:''' Fine. Very well put.
-->'''Brendan:''' Accelerated English, Mrs. Kasperzyk.
* {{Leitmotif}}: Particularly Laura and Em.
* LightAndMirrorsPuzzle: A rare non-video game use of this trope, Brendan is locked in a CreepyBasement and uses a mirror and a small stream of light to take stock of the whole area and find the 10th brick.
* LonersAreFreaks: Brendan Frye is cool, and badass, and a perfect example of ''Determinator'', but he eats lunch alone and the only two people who could possibly be called his friends are his ex-girlfriend and Brain, who serves as a sort of information broker. Brendan plays many sides against each other, and is not very well liked for it.
* LongingForFictionLand: The Pin really wishes he could live in Middle-earth.
* MacGuffinTitle: The "brick" of the title is a heroin brick, the theft of which sets off the film's entire plot.
* MasqueradeBall: Laura's "Halloween in January."
* MeaningfulName: Tug has his strings pulled by the BigBad to do most of the heavy lifting.
* MenDontCry: Averted immediately prior to the climax of the film Brendan breaks down crying in [[spoiler: Laura's arms]].
* MinorCrimeRevealsMajorPlot: Murder isn't exactly a ''minor'' crime, but Emily's death is entirely incidental to [[spoiler: Laura's]] plan
* NeckLift: Tug to Brendan.
%%* {{Nerd}}: Both the Brain and the Pin.
* NerdGlasses: Brain sports a classic pair. Brendan also wears glasses, but their style shows that he's not a nerd.
* NoHoldsBarredBeatdown: A couple of times, always [[spoiler:from Tug]].
* NoodleIncident: What went down between Brendan and "Jerr" before the events of the film. WordOfGod is that [[spoiler:Jerr was a drug dealer who started getting friendly with Emily. Brendan didn't approve of this, so he partnered up with Jerr in a dope racket and then set him up for Trueman. Emily didn't approve of such blatant meddling in her life, and that's what lead to the fight in the flashback.]]
* NotInThisForYourRevolution: This is essentially Brendan's reply to the VP of Discipline at his school when the man tries to win his services.
--> '''Brendan:''' I gave you Jerr to [[ItsPersonal see him eaten,]] not to see you fed.
* OneWordTitle
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: Brain, the Pin, and presumably Tug.
%%* PantsPositiveSafety: Tug.
* PayPhone: Averts the usual trope in which the protagonist walks by a mysteriously ringing phone, as Brendan answers phone calls at pay phones more often than he makes them. This appears to be idiosyncratic to him, as everyone else appears to have cell phones. Other characters use the pay phones so confidential calls won't show up on their phone bills.
* PoliceAreUseless: {{Averted}}. Brendan is keeping things quiet not because he doesn't think the police can catch Emily's killer, but because he wants to find "who put her in front of the gun." Towards the end he makes it pretty clear that the cops could have easily found [[spoiler:the perpetrator, Tug]], and he plans to use them to roust the drug ring.
* PopularIsDumb: Played straight with Brad Bramish, averted with Laura.
%%* PlayingBothSides: [[spoiler:Laura]].
* PrettyLittleHeadshots: Gruesomely averted with the death of [[spoiler:Dode]].
* PrivateEyeMonologue: Of course. This is a neo-noir, after all.
* PutMeInCoach: Brad Bramish has a stock anecdote involving this trope, no doubt embellished
* RiddleForTheAges: We might never find out what Laura whispered to Brendan. In [[http://www.rcjohnso.com/brickscript/BrickScript.pdf a shooting script]] on his website, Rian Johnson reveals what Laura whispered at the end: [[spoiler:Motherfucker, referencing the fact that Brendan and not Dode was the father of Emily's baby.]] This is a homage to the Dashiell Hammett short story, "The Girl with the Silver Eyes," which ends identically: [[spoiler:"She put her mouth close to my ear so that her breath was warm again on my cheek, as it had been in the car, and [[NarrativeProfanityFilter whispered the vilest epithet of which the English language is capable.]]"]]
* ShouldntWeBeInSchoolRightNow: A lot of the characters go to and from school, more or less at will, although most of the film is set outside of school hours.
* ShoutOut:
** The chase scene is an obvious homage to ''Anime/CowboyBebop'' (Brendan even looks a bit like Spike). The shot of Laura coming out of a dark corridor is a reference to ''Film/BlueVelvet''.
** The line "Oh, now you are ''dangerous''" is taken verbatim from ''Film/TheMalteseFalcon'', as is the "long short long short" warning signal.
** The sequence where Brendan speaks to Laura while she's wearing thick white stage makeup refers to ''Film/OnceUponATimeInAmerica''.
** And the convoluted structure owes itself to ''Literature/TheBigSleep'', and Creator/RaymondChandler's style in general.
** The Pin's coat and cane make him look like [[Series/DarkShadows Barnabas Collins]].
%%* {{Sidekick}}: The Brain.
* TheSmartGuy: The Brain. Brendan is pretty smart too, though.
* SmartPeopleWearGlasses: Brendan, the detective of the story, wears glasses. Brain wears NerdGlasses to show that he's also smart, but not a man of action.
%%* SmokingHotSex
* SmokingIsCool: Several characters smoke, though they don't always smoke tobacco, which actually becomes a central plot-point in the climax.
* TheSummation: Interestingly, Brendan gives it to the mastermind. [[spoiler:Laura, natch!]] Then the mastermind offers a correction.
* SunshineNoir: It's set in sunny San Clemente, California, and even though it's set in January, ''Brick'' is still probably one of the most brightly lit noir films ever made.
* SympathyForTheDevil: The Pin's a pretty bad character, but it's hard not to feel a little sorry for him. This is most apparent when he reaches out to [[spoiler: Brendan]], desperately seeking a friend.
%%* TeensAreMonsters: And how!
* ThoroughlyMistakenIdentity: [[spoiler:Dode confronts Brendan, thinking he killed Emily when he was just moving her body, and notes he's going to tell the The Pin about it. Meeting with The Pin, Dode builds up his reveal by boasting it's someone close to him, completely oblivious that it was actually Tug who killed her; his smug attitude sends Tug into a rage, resulting in Dode being beaten and shot in the head.]]
* TotallyRadical: Perhaps the strangest version of this in history. The characters are modern day teenagers who all speak like hardboiled characters in a Dashiel Hammett P.I. story.
* TryingToCatchMeFightingDirty: Brendan. His first punch when fighting Brad not only involves sucker-punching him as he turns around, but he throws so much weight into it he ends up on the ground.
* {{Undercrank}}: In order to achieve the intense shots of the car bearing down on Brendan, the car was backed up slowly past the undercranked camera, then the film was reversed to give the impression of the car shooting towards the viewer.
* UnfamiliarCeiling: Brendan wakes up in Laura's room this way.
* UnflinchingFaithInTheBrakes: Invoked, where Tug puts Brandon through a test of character by driving a fast-moving car just an inch away from running him over. Brandon doesn't get the "unflinching" part right but at least he doesn't jump away, which impresses Tug enough.
* UnstoppableRage: This, plus a HairTriggerTemper, makes Tug into an ''extremely'' dangerous character. Even his employer is afraid of him.
* TheVamp: Kara and [[spoiler:Laura]].
* WatchingTheSunset
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: [[spoiler:The Pin's mom is in the house only minutes before all hell broke loose; what happened to her during the climax and afterwards?]]
* WhamLine:
-->'''Dode:''' [[spoiler:She was gonna keep it! It was mine, and you couldn't stand that! ...I loved her. And I woulda loved that kid. I'm gonna bury you.]]
* WhosYourDaddy: Between Tug, Dode, and later [[spoiler:Brendan]].
* WildTeenParty: Inverted. Because this is a noir film set in a high school, the teen parties are classy cocktail affairs with live jazz.
* WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief: Why are modern teens talking like hard-boiled [=PIs=] and [[FemmeFatale Femmes Fatale]]? [[RuleOfCool Hey]], [[MST3KMantra just roll with it.]]