Brick – Rian Johnson’s Directorial Debut

So you’re telling me that Rian Johnson wrote, directed, and edited this modern-day crime-noir masterpiece on a shoestring budget of $500,000? Well good golly Miss Molly, that is one heck of an accomplishment.

The direction of this film is spectacular. The cinematography is outstanding, with well-crafted shot composition, framing, and camera movement from DP Steve Yedlin. The unique editing style is full of stylistic quick cuts and perspective shifts, aiding in the visual storytelling present over the course of the narrative. The screenplay is elaborate, layered, witty, and absolutely captivating. The sharp dialogue is delivered precisely by solid acting performances all around, including a very young Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the lead role; and the mystery at the core of the story constantly keeps you guessing and eagerly awaiting the next surprise around each corner.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Brendan in Rian Johnson’s “Brick.”

This was my first watch, but I have a feeling that this is one of those films that could be appreciated even more with multiple viewings. When a puzzle is this challenging to fit together, it almost requires a rewatch to give the script its due respect. For now, I am settling at a solid “A” score, but there is a strong possibility that this rating will be bumped up to a perfect “A+” in the future, after some contemplation and more intent study.


Say what you will about Johnson’s contributions to the Star Wars mythology in “The Last Jedi,” but his passion, efforts, and talents as a filmmaker are not up for debate. With “Knives Out” just around the corner in November (2019), I look forward to seeing Johnson return to his Whodunnit roots.

Rian Johnson

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