12 July 2006

Off-Topic: Brick

So I went to see "Brick" last night; I'd heard it was a high-school noir and very good, and it was both. As a noir it was meticulous and sharp, very well done.

But ten minutes into it I had a question that I've still not managed to figure out: why set it in high school? The film seemed very carefully to excise any atmosphere of high school, and unavoidable high school figures like a vice principal were rephrased to fit a more adult noir setting. This disqualifies most of the more obvious reasons for a high-school setting: it wasn't either using noir to make high school funny, or using high school to make noir funny, or using noir to say something about high school (that it's as dangerous and dark a world, or whatever). So what does the unusual setting buy the movie?

It's obvious that it's a good movie; it followed the rules of noir precisely--the roles of the characters, the slang, the assumption of a certain amount of violence as the price for information. So it seems unlikely that such a smart movie would use a lame gimmick like "in high school!" (which is the movie business' equivalent to the fortune-cookie suffix "in bed!") unless there was an advantage to it, or something to be said by it. But the fact that I can't figure out what the basic setup is for makes me feel like I saw a whodunit but missed the payoff.

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4 comments:

Squashed said...

target market probably.

Who else watchng that sort of movie these days?

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