Movie ••½ Picture/Sound ••• Extras •••½
What if you took a hard-boiled, Dashiell Hammett-inspired detective story and set it in a suburban high school? You'd get Brick, an amazingly audacious independent film. Unfortunately, it isn't nearly as much fun as it sounds, because long-winded first-time director Rian Johnson makes all that clipped, symbolic dialogue a real burden over 2 very slow hours. With its $500,000 budget, the film's visuals and soundtrack are less than bare bones. Plentiful magic-hour photography does give the 'burbs a certain appealing glow. Otherwise, image quality is steady if undistinguished, with an almost TV-drama look throughout. Extras include 22 minutes of deleted scenes with director introduction, a 3-minute auditions reel, and a commentary that Johnson hosts, wisely allowing cast and crew to join him one at a time for relaxed conversation. [R] English, Dolby Digital 5.1; letterboxed (1.85:1) and anamorphic widescreen; dual layer.
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