Thursday, February 08, 2007

Muriel Awards: Best First Feature As Director

"BRICK, a cinematic mash-up of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett detective stories with a contemporary high school drama, seems like a stylistic stunt, but writer-director Rian Johnson’s film works quite well. This isn’t an exercise in playing dress-up. The characters inhabit a place where disappointment and pain lurk around every corner, something all too familiar to teenagers. Johnson’s sources of inspiration for BRICK put forth tough dicks and dames in a cold, uncaring universe. Glum teens are a clever and natural evolution for the genre." ~ Mark Pfeiffer

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4 comments:

Kza said...

Didn't care much for this (I find Hammett overrated), but Johnson's talent, at least for visuals, is undeniable, so he was my #2 choice, behind Khrzhanovsky. Hopefully his next film will feature interesting characters and comprehensible English.

Jason_Alley said...

Though I wanted to like this movie a lot more than I did, the dude's got talent, so it's cool by me.

Steve said...

I second the KZA: Director, si! Writer, no!

I was stumping for Fernando Eimbcke and James Gunn, myself. Alas, alas...

Paul C. said...

The teens-speaking-in-purple-patois schtick is certainly what people notice first about BRICK (it's the hook, as it were), but I don't think it would have worked if the direction wasn't assured. Johnson and his cast play it straight (hard to do when you're dealing with dialogue like, "I've got all five senses and I slept last night, which puts me six up on the lot of you"), which is the right choice, since winking and nudging would have made the whole thing feel too precious and ironic. I'm eager to see what Johnson does with THE BROTHERS BLOOM, which he has described as a "globetrotting con man picture." Which could really go anywhere, tone-wise. On the one hand, I hope he plays this straight like BRICK; on the other, I hope there are at least semi-light roles for Rachel Weisz and Rinko Kikuchi- after THE FOUNTAIN and BABEL, respectively, I'd say they've earned them.

Steve- I'm the other one who tossed in points for Eimbcke, so I'm with you there.

Incidentally, thought you might be interested to know that I'm considering compressing the breakthrough performance and debut director categories into one award next year. Something along the lines of "outstanding breakthrough cinematic achievement," to honor not only actors and directors, but also up-and-coming screenwriters and technicians who do noteworthy work. Naturally, this will be a five-nomination category, given the larger talent pool.