Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Brick (2005)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Brick (2005)

In writer/director Rian Johnson's directorial debut film - a modern-day film noir or neo-noir (with hard-boiled 40s lingo) and a twisting plot and featuring a femme fatale - the low-budgeted film (only $475,000 dollars) grossed revenue of $2 million (domestic) and $3.9 million (worldwide). The film's title 'Brick' was a reference to a compressed block of heroin.

The film's setting was a Southern California (San Clemente) high school with a menacing drug-crime ring. The main teenaged hero character, a loner and outsider, substituted for the detective character found in many film noirs, who was attempting to unravel how and why his former girlfriend had been murdered:

  • the film opened with brooding, jilted loner teenager Brendan Frye (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) finding the body of his ex-girlfriend Emily Kostach (Emilie de Ravin) near a concrete sewer or storm drain tunnel entrance beneath a freeway. He hid Emily's body, and avoided contacting authorities when he decided to investigate the murder himself, with assistance and help from his nerdy schoolfriend the Brain (Matt O'Leary)

Emily - Missing

Brendan Frye (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)
  • the film then flashbacked to two days earlier to provide a contextual backstory.
    FLASHBACK START: Just before Emily's murder, Brendan was given instructions in his locker to go to a pay phone, where he received a phone call from Emily. She was very scared and in trouble, and needed help. She gave him some key words that made no sense at first, among them: "poor frisco," "pin," "brick," and "tug" before she screamed and abruptly hanged up when a Black Ford Mustang car zoomed by and a cigarette butt - with a blue arrow design - was discarded
  • Brendan learned from his friend Brain that Emily had begun trying to reach out to a different crowd to hang out with - and that she had become a drug-user and involved in some way with a drug-dealer nicknamed "The Pin." Her use of the term "brick" clearly referred to ten bricks of powdery heroin (and in the upcoming story, there was one missing brick that had been stolen)
  • there were many suspects who would be introduced in this twisting tale of drug dealing and violence, included stoners, jocks, and upper-class elites:

    • Dode (Noah Seagan), a stoned, drug-addicted, greasy hood, Emily's newest boyfriend
    • The Pin (Lukas Haas), a menacing 26 year-old drug dealer who had a club-foot, walked with a limp, and lived with his mother
    • Tugger (or Tug) (Noah Fleiss), the Pin's muscular, intimidating, hot-headed enforcer with a white-knit cap or beanie; he was the owner of the ubiquitous black Ford Mustang
    • Laura Dannon (Nora Zehetner), an upper-class, rich-girl student, a sultry, sophisticated, sexily-flirtatious femme fatale; her drug-using jock boyfriend was Brad Bramish (Brian White)
      [Note: Laura was ultimately incriminated by a distinctive brand of cigarette that she smoked]

  • after speaking to his ex-girlfriend Kara (Meagan Good), Brendan found Emily's red-paper invitation to a party and decided to attend the event in Emily's place; at the party hosted by Laura at her house, he spoke to her and learned that one of Emily's new acquaintances was drug-head Dode, who often met with Emily behind the local cafe Coffee and Pie, Oh My. At the cafe, Brendan watched as Emily was given a piece of paper by Dode; he briefly spoke to Emily who revealed that she had been instructed by Dode to meet him at a sewer storm-drain tunnel entrance that evening, via a symbol drawn on a piece of paper; later that night after realizing that the symbol referred to the tunnel, he found Emily dead at the location
    This was the point in the film when the FLASHBACK ENDED.
  • after hiding Emily's body, Brendan (now in detective mode) began to investigate the crime by scheming to infiltrate into the local drug gang, and promising to keep the high school's Assistant Vice Principal Gary Trueman (Richard Roundtree) informed of his findings; the Brain informed Brendan that the word "Pin" in Emily's call referred to a drug-dealing boss known as the Pin
  • after a physical altercation with the beanie-wearing Tug, Brendan demanded to meet Tug's employer - the Pin. He was driven in Tug's Mustang to the Pin's address, where Brendan offered his services to Pin's drug operation, to not rat him out, but to provide information about his drug-dealing competition. The Pin replied that Brendan would either be hired or beaten up the next day: "I'll have my boys check your tale, and seeing how it stretches, we'll either rub or hire you"
  • after the meeting with The Pin, Brendan was driven back to the high school by the conniving Laura, who informed him that the now-'addicted' Emily had allegedly stolen a "brick" of heroin after being rejected by Pin's operation; Brendan began to distrust the deeply-involved Laura
  • the next day, Brendan learned that he had been hired by Pin's drug gang
  • the threatening and accusatory Dode told Brendan that he saw him suspiciously hide Emily's body after her murder, and would use the information against him
  • Brendan was able to side with Tug (against Pin, who suspected that Tug was going to betray him); in Pin's house, Brendan was informed by Tug that Pin had recently bought 10 bricks of heroin. Eight of them had been sold. The 9th one disappeared (but was returned after it had been contaminated with laundry soap and killed Frisco), and the 10th brick was in Pin's basement
  • Dode kept accusing Brendan of killing Emily; Dode revealed that Emily was pregnant with Dode's baby when she died. Dode believed (mistakenly) that a jealous Brendan had killed his own pregnant ex:

"You couldn't stand it, your little Em. She was gonna keep it, it was mine, and you couldn't stand that...I loved her, and I would've loved that kid. I'm gonna bury you!"

  • during a tense confrontation at the sewer tunnel between Tug, the Pin, Dode and Brendan, Brendan was now publically accused of Emily's murder by Dode, but Brendan denied the false allegation. Dode hinted to everyone that someone close to Emily had killed her - and her pregnancy was the motive - he pinned the murder on Brendan:

"She had a kid in her and he couldn't stand it."

  • it was expected that Tug would attack Brendan, but instead he went beserk, assaulted Dode, and shot and killed him at point-blank range.

    [It was Tug's belief, although untrue, that Emily was pregnant with his own child. He had also been romantically involved with Emily.]

  • shortly later after Brendan was revived at Tug's house after fainting at the sewer tunnel, in his bedroom, Tug confessed to Brendan that he had killed Emily. Laura arrived to comfort the grieving Brendan, and they had sex. Brendan became suspicious of Laura, since she was smoking the cigarette brand that matched the discarded butt earlier in the film, just before Emily's disappearance
  • a drug-war of sorts erupted between Tug and Pin at The Pin's house; Laura described the "slaughterhouse" during the "party" at The Pin's house that she had orchestrated and set up over the missing brick of heroin; six were found dead, including the Pin, Tug, and Emily, eliminating all the major players and revealing Tug as Emily's killer (Emily's body had been stashed in Tug's car trunk). Tug also beat the Pin to death, and also shot Dode, before being gunned down by the arriving police:

"The papers say six dead, three around the house, girl in the back of Tug's car [Emily's body], and The Pin and Tug. Tug tried to shoot his way out when the police got there. They tied him to Dode, too. Same gun. And the girl."

  • then Brendan disclosed that he knew about Laura's double-dealing when he told her: "It's not finished."
    • although Tug took the fall for Emily's actual death, Brendan knew that Laura had "put her in front of the gun" - he bluntly blamed her: "That was you, angel."
    • Laura had stolen the 9th brick of drug powder from The Pin, took half of it, and doctored up the remainder (with a poisonous substitute that killed Frisco) and then set up Emily to take the blame for its doctoring and theft
    • Laura had urged Emily to tell Tug that she was pregnant with Tug's baby, supposedly to "soften him up," but she knew it would have the opposite effect - Tug reacted in a panic and killed Emily. Brendan accused the complicit Laura of the murder: "She took the hit for you and you let her take it."
    • Brendan also concluded that Laura had taken the 10th and final brick
  • then, Brendan told Laura that he had tipped off the Assistant VP Gary Trueman about her drug involvement with The Pin. A cut-away showed Laura's locker being searched by the authorities, proving that she had in fact stolen the last brick
  • to retaliate and spite Brendan, the vindictive and mean-spirited Laura then told Brendan that Emily was three months pregnant, already showing, and didn't love the father (and was seeking an abortion), implying that Brendan was the father: "Do you know whose kid that makes it?"
  • the film's last line was: "All right, you don't have to tell me" - Brain was asserting to Brendan that he didn't want to know the 'dirty word' that Laura had just whispered in Brendan's ear ["Mother----"]

Discovery of Emily's Body at Storm Drain-Tunnel Entrance by Brendan Frye

The Pin (Lukas Haas) - A Menacing Drug Dealer

Tugger or Tug (Noah Fleiss) - The Pin's Muscular Enforcer

Emily's Boyfriend Dode (Noah Seagan)

Femme Fatale Laura Dannon (Nora Zehetner)

At the Tunner-Sewer, Tug's Point-Blank Murder of Dode

Brendan with Conniving Femme Fatale Laura

Laura's Locker Discovered With the 10th Brick of Heroin


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