I know this film is several years old, but it makes me happy to see that we still have films being released once in a while that are unique and original, and not a sequel, remake, or just a rehash of the same old crap.
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.