Personal Journal: I don’t have one. Is that alright?
Email / AIM / MSN / Plurk: firstname.lastname@example.org
Current Character(s): None.
Canon link: Since Brick is obscure, I thought a link to here would be beneficial: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brick_%
Name: Brendan Frye
Appearance: Brendan has curly dark brown hair that he never combs over the course of the movie, and has apparently not trimmed in a while, if flashbacks are anything to go by. He wears round framed glasses, and has brown eyes. Despite the movie taking course over the place of several days, Brendan can rarely be bothered to change his clothing unless it’s bloody or dirty. He is clad in every scene bar one in a light gray-green jacket which he has sewn padding into in case he gets knifed – I’m dead serious. His standard wardrobe of white T-shirts and jeans in varying stages of frayed is even pointed out in-universe as odd. He looks a bit on the thin side, but when his jacket is off we see he does have a fair amount of musculature.
Character history: Brendan grew up with very, very absentee parents. They worked all the time. One deleted scene has Brendan state ‘film noir and the streets raised me’; this is reflected in their total absence from his teenage life. Brendan prepares his own meals, goes out and returns when he pleases, and while the principal does call his mother about absences, this has no effect on Brendan’s life, something he accurately predicted before it happened. We can safely sum up this character’s childhood as being spent in front of a TV, running around on his own and getting into trouble with virtually no consequences.
His teenage years were something of an improvement. Brendan has been in accelerated classes since middle school, where he met his two best friends, Brian ‘the Brain’, and Emily Kostich. Emily immediately became Brendan’s obsession; he didn’t form a crush on her, he fell in love so hard he began to become controlling of her life and showed no interest in any of the things going on around him aside from her. This is a good example of Brendan’s extremist approach to life I’ll be expounding on in the personality section, but let me explain just how obsessive Brendan was:
Emily made friends with a drug dealer named Jerr. Brendan proceeded to lie his way into partnering up with Jerr, earning his trust, and then turning him and his drug racket over to the Vice Principal, Trueman. Feeling betrayed and a little scared by Brendan’s actions, Emily fought with him, culminating in him shoving her to the ground, her screaming and two months of excruciating silence before the plot proper kicks off.
Two months later, Brendan has been moping about doing nothing, going to classes and keeping his ear to the ground on what’s going on with the people around him. Emily calls him, frantic, and shouts a bunch of disconnected words and phrases that later become critical to the plot before screaming and hanging up. Brendan senses things have gone south, and goes on a hunt for Emily, who has vanished at that point. When he finds Emily’s body in a drainage tunnel on the outside of town, he begins his own investigation. Brendan fully admits the cops could take care of it, but they wouldn’t find the person who put her in this position. He wants to, and I quote, ‘break some well deserving teeth’.
He proceeds to lie, cheat, manipulate, plot, interrogate, break and enter, steal, and fight his way through a long list of people. He manages to get in with the drug gang that Emily was in, looking for answers under the guise of being willing to give misinformation to the school authorities that trust him. There, he meets the Pin, the head of a series of drug rings in town, Tug, the Pin’s hair trigger temper enforcer, and Laura, the professional lookout and driver for the Pin. Things get complicated from there on out as everyone’s lies and plans crash into each other, but Brendan manages to lie and bluff his way through everything with a suicidal disregard for his own life and an inability to show enough emotion to ping anyone’s radar as a liar, even when he’s making things up on the spot.
Eventually, he gets involved in a shoot out between Tug’s side of the gang and the Pin’s, after trying to keep the peace for long enough for the cops to show up. Since he had put Emily’s body in the Pin’s car after borrowing it, he was in the clear when he managed to escape. The catch is that the gang fight was triggered by one of the titular bricks of cocaine being missing, which is something only one person could have possibly had time to get ahold of: Laura. Brendan confronts her about the three hours later (the shoot out takes place at four in the morning) and calmly, coldly breaks down her entire plan – as a stalling tactic, because he also figured out she didn’t have enough time to stash the brick anywhere but her locker. He slipped a note under the principal’s door explaining the entire mess to him and then kept Laura talking out on the football field long enough for them to find the drugs.
Laura, however, not to be outdone, ends the story by emotionally devastating Brendan the best way she knows how: telling him the truth. It was no secret after the midway point of the film Emily had been pregnant, but she had also been dating Dode, a local gangster wannabe nobody, and Tug. The catch was that she was already starting to show before she died. Laura notes she looked four months along. That makes it Brendan’s child, because they were together at that time, and Brendan, already emotionally unstable, seems to take no joy in the victory of stopping a gang war and bringing justice to an unjust situation. His incredibly blank, tired expression is the last thing we see before we roll credits.
Personality: Brendan is outwardly calm and detached. He has no interest in being friends with people outside of Emily and Brain, he has virtually no manners, but when he needs to be, he’s a great actor. He successfully tricks his way into Laura’s party with a fake voice, some politeness and a feigned ‘bro-ness’ he doesn’t truly posess. Once he’s in, he makes no effort to socialize. He’s there for information from Laura, and he gets it in the cold, unwavering manner of an interrogator or the bad cop in a good cop bad cop scenario. This is also how he treats Kara, a drug dealer and associate of his from the aforementioned Jerr incident. She does everything within her power to seduce him and his voice never wavers from an emotionless cool tone. He refuses to play her games and walks out on conversations with her three times over the course of the film, clearly not in the mood.
Brilliant but unchallenged by school, Brendan’s treatment of Jerr is not indicative of a heroic personality. He did it for Emily’s sake. At one point he tells Principal Trueman outright, “I sent you Jerr to see him eaten, not to see you fed.” In fact, Brendan can be very cruel despite being the most level headed person in the movie. He very calmly marches up to where Dode and his gang hang out and beats him senseless for information about Emily, without the tiniest twinge of regret at what I can only describe as a curb stomp battle.
His intelligence and ability to act are really the crux of his problems. The real Brendan is only truly displayed twice, excluding the ending seconds of the film. He lies and improvises like he breathes, capable of making up plans on the fly. When he realizes he needs to get into the Pin’s gang, he beats the ever loving crap out of a minor dealer – winning through fighting as dirty as possible – and is rewarded by having the Pin’s enforcer, Tug, beat him up. Brendan, stuck without a lead, spots Tug’s car and deliberately allows himself to be beaten up again while shouting he wants to talk to the Pin, hoping this gambit will work. It does, and he’s thrown into the trunk of the car, which he opens slightly to get the address of the biggest dealer in the area. He spins a good, convincing story about wanting to join the Pin’s racket, but it’s obvious to the viewer he’s making it up as he goes along.
The suicidal disregard for his own life I mentioned earlier is a big part of what makes Brendan who he is. He lets himself be beat up twice and nearly hit by Tug’s car without flinching away. He starts a fight with a star football player/dealer. He volunteers to take on Dode’s gang of six men, although they decline the offer. When gang negotiations go south and he knows he needs to stall a few more minutes before the cops arrive towards the end of the movie, he volunteers to take a hit of cocaine to prove to the warring sides it’s clean and untampered with. He’s impressively, astoundingly unconcerned with his own wellbeing. He ignores his classes as well in favor of his obsession with finding Emily’s killer, and has the audacity to calmly hang up on the Vice Principal and tell him off to his face. He just does not care what happens to himself in this whole thing.
Brendan is not, however, a sociopath incapable of caring. In-universe there’s indicators he stared at Emily’s body for at least twenty minutes before moving it. At the accusation from Dode he killed Emily, followed up by the information Emily had been pregnant, Brendan is left shaking and unable to speak for several minutes. Just before the gang war has its’ disastrous negotiation session, he has a complete sobbing breakdown as he has flashbacks to Emily, and is unable to pull himself out of it. Her death destroyed him thoroughly, and, given his family is almost non-existant with how uninvolved they are, it’s not a stretch to say she was the only living person he loved.
He also has a conscience, much to his regret. There is a point where he has the option of saving the Pin from being murdered by Tug or escaping the house and subsequent police investigation at the scene. It takes him a long moment to make the decision to leave, and even then he looks like he could break again while he does it. Brendan has no regrets about beating someone up, but murder is a very different story.
The one most defining trait about his personality, besides an infinite amount of determination, is his anger. Brendan holds a huge amount of his actual emotions and thoughts in, but he has flashes of violence. He throws Emily to the ground in a flashback, finally snaps at Kara’s continual lies and mockery of his actions and throws a rock at the mirror behind her in a flash of violence, and in the ending scene grips Laura’s arms so tightly his knuckles turn white as he explains exactly how he figured out her part in all this and how he’s going to ruin her for it. This is to say nothing of the calm violence involved in beating other people up, where he never looks angry so much as just focused.
In the end, although extremely intelligent, observant, brave and a good fighter, Brendan manages to make all of these things into flaws, and his emotionless poker face makes him greatly disliked by a multitude of people in-universe. His need to control his girlfriend, the only person he had in his life who loved him, was clearly unstable and out of bounds. He has no qualms about breaking into places and rooting through people’s things, and never apologizes to Brain for using him as an information source throughout the entire movie.
He’s an asshole. He’s willing to brush with death for someone he loves. He’s got issues expressing emotions. In a nutshell, Brendan is someone whose mind never stops turning, and the end results are always a mixed bag of good and insane.
Powers and Abilities: Brendan can take a beating. I mean it. He has been beaten to the point of coughing up blood and having a face full of bruises, and even as his vision swims and he struggles to stand on his feet, he holds a fairly coherent conversation with Dode. He gets nearly knocked out by a minor drug dealer and, as the man turns around to grab his jacket, springs to his feet to give him a nasty uppercut. This is not someone sane enough to go while the getting’s good. He will pick a fight and find victory through fighting dirty and continuing to go when sitting down is smarter.
He can tell when people are lying fairly well, and as a result of a lifetime fascination with movies, can act in such a way that virtually no one realizes when he’s lying. He’s great at lying under pressure, too; even with a gun pointed at his face in one scene and when choked and held against a wall in another, lies flow seamlessly out of his mouth.
He doesn’t have super powers because Brick is set in, more or less, reality. These are his two main abilities. And he runs with it.
World Summary: It’s in essence like reality unless otherwise noted. Other than Brendan’s usage of payphones, which are still prevalent in his world, the rest of the cast uses cellphones. The slang everyone uses is a mixture of terms used in the 20’s through to the 40’s and some are unique to this particular film. Though we get some nice shots of the area, for the most part the story itself never leaves San Clemente, where it’s established there are both upper and middle classes, but few lower class people. (See above about both Brendan’s parents working full time to afford to live there; this is why they’re such absentee parents.)
Crime seems to be an accepted fact in the Brick universe. Everyone from the Vice Principal to sixteen year olds are aware of the various drug rings going through town, there’s a party where a girl more or less hands out what has to be a thousand dollars worth of liquor to her guests and both Brendan and Brain refer to it as ‘a standard San Clemente Saturday’. There are no less than three gangs shown and two others referenced. The police are completely inept at stopping any of this, and are derisively referred to by most people as ‘the bulls’, because they’re only good at charging in at the first sign of red and doing damage. Brendan knows this firsthand, since he was able to deal drugs and slam Jerr behind bars for it, and at the film’s climax he more or less hand feeds them the whole story in order to ensure the right people actually get arrested for once.
San Clemente is extremely over populated, and this is a large part of why things can slip by teachers and police alike. There are more students than there are desks in the high school. There are many, many characters with no parental supervision due to the cost of living there. Weapons without licenses appear to be easily acquired and are traded off to others with more frequency than is really sane given the environment. Corruption seems to be inherent in every system in Brick. Brendan has to go to VP because the actual principal is crooked and they both know it, no one trusts the police, knowledge of where Emily is is flat out sold to her boyfriend, and no one reacts as if any of this is remotely strange. It’s a very cynical take of the world. Brendan is actually heroic by comparison to the rest of these people; call it hero by default, if you will.
Network: [Brendan’s voice is flat and almost monotone, as is typical, as he addresses the camera in the cellphone he found upon arrival. It’s Brain’s cell, but it seems to have all new functions, and so he’s going to cast a line out there and see what bites. His curly seal brown hair is still tousled and his cold brown eyes are tired, but the bruises of the last fight he was in have vanished and he has his light gray-green jacket back. He looks as thoughtful and bored as he usually does. Only the shifting of his weight from foot to foot betrays his nervousness.]
Alright. I don’t much expect anyone here to give me the straight right out of the gate here but I also don’t have anything to go on. I have to ask for a clue what’s going on now only because I’m completely off the grid, not because I run around asking for favors and getting up to my neck. For the record, despite whatever you’ve heard about San Clemente, I’m not packing heat and I’m not some scrub. I got no interest in mooching off of anyone. All I need is the straight talk on where I am and what’s going on. A lifeline wouldn’t be too bad right now. I need someone to level with me. Any takers?
Third Person: Brendan strolled at a seemingly unconcerned pace, taking in his surroundings with sharp eyes that narrowed at certain details and little things that might come in handy later. It was doubtful he’d find himself in the same kind of life or death situations as back home – there wasn’t a dealer or an alleyway king in the city as far as he could tell. But knowing where to duck out had saved his life more than once back home; if there was one thing he had learned, it was that there was no ducking the fallout all the time. Crazy powers or not, eventually he’d find himself in the middle of something here. He had to find some way to get a mental map of the city in his mind.
It wasn’t that he didn’t trust the blue nosers here. It was that he wasn’t sure any of them had his back and didn’t intend to stab it. He had never been an altar boy, but compared to some of the people here he felt like an outright ripper. There was something about Bending that struck him as a power he shouldn’t be spoonfed until he relied on it. Anybody he’d had a brush with who relied on guns or knives inevitably got their ass handed to them once they found themselves without it. He’d have to fight not to go dull here or put all his money on Bending. It didn’t sit right with him. Perhaps he was being paranoid, but the last time someone had said he was paranoid about something, he’d been dead right.
In either case, he needed to find someone, a long time resident, and shoot the shit about the whole Bending thing. See what he could get as starting points. He was no Dungeons and Dragons fan, but he was no fool. There was no way he’d throw away the loaded gun Bending presented without at least trying to learn how to shoot.