Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Brick (2005)
Originally uploaded by ∆P
So apparently, while I’m working on my own film noir I’m going to be watching Brick on a regular basis. It just doesn’t seem like I can avoid it. I keep wanting to revisit it, and have it feed the pool of inspiration.

Thank God for the films of Rian Johnson.

I realized part of what I love about Brick, part of what makes it so real and visceral is the sound design. This is a film that is visually sparse and distinct, and the sound design matches that in every way possible. There is little to no background noise that can’t be called “generic”, the only things you hear are what you see, and yet everything is distinct and clear. That may not sound like a lot to those of you that have ever thought about sound, but if you’ve ever been subjected to a film that has had the sound over designed or under designed I am sure your brain picked up that something was very off – even if you couldn’t figure out what that was. Never assume that what you’re hearing along with the picture, was simply what the sound peeps recorded while filming.

My favorite random bit about the sound design of Brick? [Yes, I am a geek that has a favorite part of the sound design in this film.] I adore the fact that everyone’s run/footsteps sound distinct. I remember reading an article that Rian Johnson had taken his characters shoes into account when plotting what they would be like, and I think this extends right down to how they sound. Normally, this is the kind of thing that isn’t readily apparent, but where I noticed it the most was the sequence where the thug is chasing down Brendan at school. Ws they run through the corridors Brendan’s step is lithe and quick and the thug is heavy and significantly slower – the sound comes more into play when Brendan realizes he can be heard running and discards his shoes to double back on the thug as he hears him approach.

My point is, from script, to production to post every element of something as “simple” as how the shoes would work in this film was fully planned, thought out and executed to maximum effect.

I am both astonished and inspired by this. This is the kind of craftsman ship I aspire to, and while I know I subconsciously do add touches like this to my works, I’m still working to make it a conscious effort. I would love to one day be compared to Rian Johnson, the Orange County director with an eye for artful details.

The Brain: See the Pin pipes it from the lowest scraper for Brad Bramish to sell, maybe. Ask any dope rat where their junk sprang and they'll say they scraped it from that, who scored it from this, who bought it off so, and after four or five connections the list always ends with The Pin. But I bet you, if you got every rat in town together and said "Show your hands" if any of them've actually seen The Pin, you'd get a crowd of full pockets.
Brendan: You think The Pin's just a tale to take whatever heat?
The Brain: Hmm... So what's first?
Brendan: Show of hands.

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