Friday, November 13, 2009

Seriously, Though, Let's Get Away From The 'B' Names

I've had occasion to re-watch both of Rian Johnson's films lately, those being Brick and The Brothers Bloom. Apart from a love of the letter 'B', the movies have almost nothing in common.

Brick is a 40's-style hard-boiled noir detective story set in a modern day California high school. It's smart, funny, daring, well-crafted, made on the cheap, and is one of my favorite movies to come out in the last few years.

The Brothers Bloom, I must admit, disappointed me at first. I was expecting something... a little more like Brick, and what I got instead was a screwball comedy fairy-tale disguised as a con movie. And don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed watching it, but I found the ending a bit anti-climactic for a con-movie. That said, upon repeated viewings, it has endeared itself to me and revealed more of its character to me.

And in this way, it's very much like Brick, which I have seen probably a dozen times now, and in which I can still find new nuances and layers to the depth of the story. I'm reminded a little bit of Kubrick, whose films you watched once to see the story and then again to just look at the visuals and admire the craft. Unlike Kubrick, however, Johnson's films don't have the same artistic flare that permeated Kubrick's and often got in the way of the storytelling.

Anyway, I've ranted far longer than I intended to in this post, but I'll close by saying that I'm deeply interested in whatever Rian Johnson is directing next. His first two films are not for everyone, but they're smart, well-made, and singularly unique, so check them out anyway.

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