Mature Themes in a Teenage Film

brick-poster

Brick is the directorial debut of Rian Johnson, receiving positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

Brick (2006) is a film combining the mature themes of the noir genre and the innocence of teenage life.  Although the majority of the characters are attending high school, they are intertwined in a deep mysterious plot of drugs, love, and murder.  The main character is Brendan Frye, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  Brendan is investigating the death of his ex-girlfriend Emily, and ultimately trying to bring her killers to justice.

Brendan, with the help of his friend Brain, investigates the local drug dealing ring at his high school in order to find the reason behind Emily’s death.  Throughout the movie Brendan works his way up through different connections in order to find The Pin, who is the local drug baron.  However, he also has to deal with the regular aspects of being a teen in high school like going to class or getting called into the Vice Principal’s office.

Brick implements classic tropes of the noir and teenage film genres to create a unique plot that addresses a serious topic, but allows it to relate to a younger audience.  The film’s plot is one usually focused on in movies geared towards adults, but broadens its appeal to teenagers since they can relate to issues faced by the characters as teenagers.  There are a few ways that the film accomplishes this:

  • By using music and plot themes of the noir genre, the film establishes itself firmly as a member of the genre.
  • The inclusion of certain supporting characters and topics helps the film identify with a younger audience, similar in age to the main characters.
  • Themes addressed by the movie reflect on societal concerns of adults on teenagers, including drugs, sex, and violence.
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