Movie Reviews
The Bricklayer (2024).

The Bricklayer: A Shaky Foundation in the Action Thriller Genre

Directed by Renny Harlin, The Bricklayer promised an enthralling narrative of espionage, international conspiracies, and a retired CIA operative forced back into action. With an impressive cast featuring Aaron Eckhart, Nina Dobrev, Tim Blake Nelson, Ilfenesh Hadera, and Clifton Collins Jr., the film boasted potential. However, despite its ambitious premise and a strong ensemble, the execution fell short, resulting in a middling and forgettable action thriller.

The Bad:

The storyline, adapted from Noah Boyd‘s novel, initially held promise. The premise of the CIA being blackmailed through the assassination of foreign journalists, framing the agency and inciting global unrest, hinted at a politically charged and tense narrative. However, the execution lacked depth and failed to deliver the anticipated intensity. The plot felt formulaic, relying heavily on clichéd tropes of the genre without offering any innovative twists or surprises.

Aaron Eckhart, known for his charismatic performances, did his best with the material he was given in the role of Vail, the brilliant yet rebellious ex-CIA operative. Eckhart brought a certain rugged charm to the character, but the writing didn’t allow him to delve deeper into Vail’s complexities. The character remained two-dimensional, failing to connect on an emotional level with the audience.

Nina Dobrev as Kate, Vail’s colleague, brought a sense of determination and competence to her role. However, the chemistry between Dobrev and Eckhart lacked the necessary spark to elevate their interactions beyond the expected dynamics of a mentor-mentee relationship. Tim Blake Nelson’s portrayal of O’Malley, the stereotypical bureaucratic CIA figure, felt overly caricatured, missing the opportunity to add depth to the supporting cast.

Ilfenesh Hadera and Clifton Collins Jr. delivered commendable performances as Tye and Radek. They injected some much-needed energy into the film. However, their characters were underutilized, serving more as plot devices than fully fleshed-out personalities. The lack of character development across the board hindered my investment. This contributed to a sense of detachment from the unfolding events.

While Renny Harlin’s direction offered some visually engaging sequences, the film suffered from pacing issues and inconsistent tonal shifts. The action scenes, though competently choreographed, failed to generate genuine excitement or tension. The editing often felt disjointed. It hindered the flow of the narrative and making it challenging to fully immerse oneself in the storyline.

Furthermore, the screenplay by Hanna Weg and Matt Johnson struggled to balance the intricate web of espionage with character development. The dialogue felt stilted at times, lacking the sharpness and wit necessary to engage the audience fully. The attempt to infuse the plot with layers of intrigue resulted in convoluted storytelling, leaving viewers more confused than captivated.

The Good:

Despite its flaws, The Bricklayer did have its moments. The film showcased some well-executed set pieces, and the cinematography captured certain scenes with flair. However, these moments were fleeting and unable to salvage the overall mediocrity of the film.


The Bricklayer had the ingredients for a compelling action film: a talented cast, an interesting premise, and a talented director. Sadly, the film fails to capitalize on these elements, delivering a lackluster and forgettable experience. The film’s failure to go beyond genre clichés, shallow characters, and an inconsistent storyline was disappointing. Although it may provide mild entertainment for dedicated genre fans, it doesn’t leave a lasting impact.

The Bricklayer: A Shaky Foundation in the Action Thriller Genre
  • Acting - 6/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 6/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 3.5/10
  • Setting/Theme - 4/10
  • Watchability - 4/10
  • Rewatchability - 3/10
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