A Bogart style film noir, and it’s set in high school? What? Of all the films that tread a line between the truly inspired and the ridiculous, none do it as mind bogglingly well as Rian Johnson’s tale about a teenage murder mystery. The entire filmic apparatus is a house of cards of which even an improper inflection on the wrong syllable by any of the stellar cast could topple the entire work. But everything seems to fall into place, and the result is a fantastic film about the urgency and danger of high school depicted in a very formal way. Johnson proves he has all the right stuff, and Joseph Gordon Levitt shines as Bogart incarnate Brenden, self-charged with uncovering the truth behind the corpse and the mysterious brick. And the ever wonderful, ever underappreciated Lucas Haas is perfection as The Pin (you’ll see, just watch it). You done Bogey proud, Mr. Johnson.
I bought this film on sheer faith that it was going to rock and, luckily, my instincts served me well this time, not like the time I bought Pathfinder and wanted to hurt someone after I watched it. Seriously, I could have eaten that 20 bucks and my digestive system could have produced something better than that filmic refuse. Too bad, because I really love Karl Urban and Clancy Brown.