Everyone does a good job in their roles, in particular the lead. Without the style gimmick it's a solid enough film, everyone plays their part and the story unfolds at a decent pace. The style does set it apart, but also proves it undoing.
The issue is that it comes across as a student film with the kids playing roles of the noir style. It's well filmed which does set it up a step higher than that, but still the impression remains. While it does present an interesting juxtaposition it did hamper my enjoyment somewhat.
That leaves it as a film that's a bit tricky to rate, it's a decent enough film, but not as entertaining as it might have been. Still it's not a bad watch by any means and it does stand apart from many other teen movies, so worth checking out.
Off-beat drama from writer/director Rian Johnson, imitating the conventions of 1940s hardboiled film noir as a teenager investigates his ex-girlfriend's death in a small Southern Californian town. Brendan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is an outsider at his high school, but when his ex-girlfriend Emily goes missing, he decides to investigate. Teaming up with The Brain (Matt O'Leary), Brendan gets close to Emily's group of eccentric and sinister friends. As he begins to suspect the figure known only as The Pin (Lukas Haas), Brendan insinuates himself into his inner circle. But will Brendan uncover truths about Emily, or more dangerous truths about himself?