"Brick" by Yojimbo
After a panicky phone call from an ex-girlfriend, a high school student finds her dead and sets out to find out what happened to her. My first thought about this film was "Heathers rip-off". This soon became "David Lynch lite". But then it became something wholly different; it was as if I were watching the film evolve as it unfolded. Essentially it's a film noir relocated to a high school. All the types are present; cynical loner as self-destructive anti-hero seeking atonement for some past crime, the intellectual nerd as steetwise sidekick, prom queen as manipulative femme fatale, high school musical diva as gold digging vamp and dope dealing stoner as the petty hood cum stool pigeon. These characters are so well realised and "adult", you often forget the whole school setting, and the director cleverly reminds you from time to time with wit and humour; the fact that the sinister "kingpin" still lives with his mom a prime example. The hardboiled dialogue is especially well recreated, the machine gun delivery almost too snappy; I found myself rewinding the DVD so I didn't miss anything. The use of light and shadow is also particularly effective, especially when Gordon-Levitt is "enlightened" with the use of a mirror in a darkened basement. This film shows an understanding of the genre rarely seen outside of a Tarantino flick, and has single-handedly restored my faith in indie cinema after recently enduring the dismal You And Me And Everything That Blows. Rian Johnson is definitely a name I will be looking out for in the future.