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[Comments] (1) Brick: Sumana and I went and saw Brick last night. Actually we went to do some unspecified thing in the East Village, and while perusing the Voice (<--aaaaargh) we saw that close by was the only theater in Manhattan playing Brick, so that's what we did.

This is a good movie but, pace Brendan, not the best ever made. The problem is that while it's stylistically excellent, it follows the noir mystery formula too faithfully. The best noir mysteries have a non-stylistic twist on the formula (The Big Lebowski, which for my money remains the king of stylistic twists as well). The best noir movies abandon the mystery element altogether and just go after the depravity of man (Double Indemnity). Or you can just be an extremely confusing mystery like The Big Sleep, which gives you some points in my book. In between you have movies like The Maltese Falcon and Brick, which are very stylish but formulaic.

I think the other major noir subgenre is the underworld film, but I haven't seen any of those yet, so I'm even less able than usual to pass ill-informed judgement. Those movies seem kind of sensationalistic and Manichean, but I could be wrong.

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Posted by Brendan at Sun Jun 04 2006 14:32

To be fair, I claimed it was the best movie I'd ever SEEN, not necessarily the best ever made, and my background in noir is shamefully shallow; Sumana has pointed out that I need to see Double Indemnity, The Big Sleep, etc instead of just reading their plot summaries. And my previous favorite was Hackers, so my tastes are not going to be a good predictor across the set of anyone who's not fourteen.

I think the stylistic twist in Brick was the juxtaposition of life-and-death stakes against the high school setting, but it's given to you up front so it's more of a conceit than a twist.

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