Aroview: Precocious neo-noir set amid the student body of a Californian high school with a bespectacled lad (Gordon-Levitt) taking a 'Sam Spade' role as he searches for the explanation behind an ex-girlfriend's abject murder in a drainage tunnel.
Astute enquiries - carried out amid lonely suburban car-parks and soulless costume parties - reveals a web of high-stakes drug dealing and violence, along with the requisite femme fatale (Zehetner) and crimelord (Haas) at the centre. More remarkable than the labyrinthine, but customary storyline, is dir. Johnson's bravely deadpan dialogue which has all the snaking wit of Raymond Chandler. The coolly stylish visual sense also manages to inject the banal Los Angles locales with otherworldly menace.
4 stars (Very Good) A modern noir and underdog hit, this first feature film from Johnson is complete with dark-comedy deadpan and detective/murder mystery spawned from both Raymond Chandler's witty noir and Anthony Burgess' quirky dialogue.~Tom H