You know the gimmick right? OC kids do Dashell Hammett - the Maltese Falcon played out in a schoolyard. They keep the undecipherable language and the familiar yet byzantine plot but then - they throw out almost everything else you associate with the genre.
Whatever, let's do this:
OK - I liked the visuals, the music and most of the acting - it really is a very well crafted debut. At the end of the day however, it all results merely in a promising but rather slight exercise in style. The premise is simply impossible to sustain and even if it is, it wasn't.
The big reveal in the end is also anticlimactic. The baby is Tug's and arguably only tangentially related to the drug plot. Emily's first phone call filled with intentionally confusing jargon about "the brick" and "Pin" and "Frisco" is all just a ham-handed inciting incident catalyzing this wild goose chase. The filming is chic and cool with the zooms during the fight scenes and the high class, vaguely "Eyes Wide Shut" high school environment, but the style doesn't atone for the lack of substance.
This was my second time seeing a Rian Johnson film, and this is where it's at. I know it came out before The Brothers Bloom, but hey, I can't always get to see a director's films in order.
This film is a hard-boiled detective mystery (complete with period slang) which is already cool, but made even cooler by the fact that it is set in contemporary times at an unnamed high school somewhere in California. Awesome.
This film isn't merely just a nod to a genre though. It stands on its own and is a very compelling and really well made thriller that, if nothing else, could at least get people interested in the stuff that inspired it. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is at the center of this tale about an everryman thrust into a situation that quickly sees him in over his head and on very unstable ground as he tries to piece together the truth surrounding a phone call that got him in the mess to begin with.
The film has a great sense of style, look, and atmosphere. The material, which involves drugs and murder, is suitably grim, but thankfully there's some wry humor sprinkled throughout to take the edge of (slightly).
The film seems a bit hard to follow at first, but that's kinda the fun of it. For those who can't keep up though, it all gets answered in the end, so there. This might be a sign that the script could have been better at clarifying things, but I prefer to see it as a way of making the viewer engage with it and think, instead of just sitting there.
This is some really good stuff, and I'm glad I finally saw it. You should not hesitate to do the same.
Director: Rian Johnson
Summary: When a secret crush turns up dead and the murderer is anyone's guess, teenage loner Brendan Fry (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is forced to navigate his school's social network through intense interactions with thespians, band geeks and druggies (including a grown-up Lukas Haas).
My Thoughts: "I must admit when I watched it, I was a little confused at the begining, but it unravels as it goes. I found it to be intriguing. Its such a different kind of film. I have never seen a movie like this before so it was a great surprise. Joesph Gordon-Levitt was really good in this movie. I have never seen him do a role like this and he was great. It was fast paced and never lost interest. I think its deffinetly a film worth seeing. Loved it..
Not bad. The mood and plot of the movie for me didn't overwhelm me or satisfy me in any way. While there was excellent acting from Joseph Gordon-Levitt everyone else pretty much sucked. I thought the ending was just bad. I like Joseph Gordon-Levitt as an actor and I will continue watching his films with much expectations, hopefully in the next I won't be disappointed.
Set in high school yet stylized like an old detective movie, this intriguing film follows our hero/detective character Brendan - a high school student who prefers to steer clear of the cliques and crowds and their wild shenanigans. That is until his ex girlfriend Emily is found dead in a storm drain only 2 days after receiving a frantic and confusing call from her on a payphone. Determined to find out what happened to her Brendan along with school genius "Brain" has to sift through the upper class elite of the high school students including the jocks, stoners and seductive drama students. As they do so Brendan discovers that Emily's death is linked to something darker and far more serious than they could have imagined.
That said, JGL has officially risen in my estimation from the precocious little shit he once was to a versatile actor, capable of emotional depth and occasional sheer cool. Also to the film's benefit is the clever, though imitative, script with quick, original dialogue.