BRICK is a hard-boiled detective story that takes place in a modern-day high school. Here's an unsolved mystery: Was the movie meant to be a serious homage or a parody? The main characters talk like it's the 1940s, but the minor characters talk like it's 2005. You know how SOUTH PARK has done recreations of famous movies and shows with a serious tone and all of the sudden a character shows up and the situation becomes funny? That happens here a couple of times, but it's clearly not on purpose. Even if writer/director Rian Johnson didn't contradict himself in establishing his fictional universe, he fails to create a compelling mystery and an interesting protagonist. Luckily, he and cinematographer Steve Yedlin do a great job at crafting an atmosphere that alternates between moody and thrilling.