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Ten years ago, teen noir Brick was released theatrically in the US in just two cinemas, which may seem like an inauspicious debut, except the film had already won a Special Jury Prize for Originality of Vision at the 2005 Sundance Festival. ‘Originality of Vision’ is a good way to describe the film, which placed a hardboiled detective story in the middle of a high school, producing an exceptionally confident directorial debut from Rian Johnson, and cementing Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a genuine talent rather than a fading child star. JGL stars as Brendan, a high school loner trying to look out for-and before long, avenge-his ex-girlfriend, solving the mystery of who killed her after she’s drawn into the drug trade of suburban Californian youths. In ten years, Johnson has gone from a small and strange film that he had to raise funds for himself to helming the biggest and most hotly anticipated blockbuster in the world. Is there anything in Brick that suggests one day its director would make the next Star Wars? How much substance is there behind the style that sees high school burnouts, nerds and bullies talking like Dashiel Hammett characters? Film In Dublin breaks this modern cult favourite down, looking at the various elements that come together to make it work.

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