Writer/Director: Rian Johnson
Running time: 110 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15
UK Release date: 12th May 2006
Watched on Sky+ Friday 2nd December 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
This is a film I had never heard of before I came across it in a film discussion group on the internet (now sadly defunct thanks to Flixter – Some of you will know which one I mean). Anyhow, this film seemed to be getting a lot of praise from just about everyone who had seen it and so I was a tad more than intrigued. I added it to ‘The List’ and waited for it to rise to the top… eventually, after about a year, it finally got an airing on Film4. Recorder set and finally an opportunity to sit down and watch it! I must say I was not disappointed, it is every bit as good as many had said; some great performances, a great plot and some excellent dialogue all combined to make a rather enjoyable couple of hours. More of my thoughts after this brief summary.
Brendan and his girlfriend, Emily, had split up and when he receives a mysterious note from her in his locker at school, Brendan is intrigued. The note points him to an intersection where a phone box was situated. He waits and eventually it rings, it’s Emily, and she’s scared. Before he can find out more she’s gone and a car goes speeding past. Deciding he had better look into it, Brendan elicits the help of ‘The Brain’, a fellow student who has the talent of finding things out. His investigation leads him to a group of dope heads, led by Dode, and eventually to the main dealer in town, The Pin. The Pin’s henchman, Tug, seems to be loggerheads with his boss but Brendan presses on. Other names that turn up include Laura, one of the school’s ‘elite’ and the rather crazy Kara, a bit of a drama queen. Can Brendan unravel the twisted events that have put Emily in danger? Well, I guess I had better not tell you here or the Spoiler Police will have me up on trumped up charges again. Oh, and by the way, I’ve missed out one vital piece of information here.
A beautifully made film with great use of unusual camera angles and kind of a bleak, stark look to it. I loved the performance of Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Brendan, he really nailed it! Also worthy of note were; Nora Zehetner as Laura, Lukas Haas as The Pin, Noah Fleiss as Tugger (Tug for short), Matt O'Leary as The Brain, Emilie de Ravin as Emily, Noah Segan as Dode and Richard Roundtree as Assistant V.P. Trueman.
Filmed very much in the noir style, I loved the dialogue and the way these young actors carried off what must have been quite a task for them. The soundtrack was equally as good, quite quirky at times, but it added to a very interesting piece. The dialogue was very clever and, at times, quite amusing, but the subject matter does become quite grim after a while. I did find it a little too long, but I guess you can’t have everything. So, despite a couple of niggles, I found this a very interesting and a quite compelling film with a bit of a twist at the end for good measure. Be warned though, it’s one of those you have to WATCH. It’s quite a complicated plot and you can easily get lost if you’re not paying attention. Still, though I have no problem in deeming this one… RECOMMENDED.
My score: 8.3/10.
IMDb Score: 7.5/10 (based on 44,850 votes at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 79/100 (based on 134 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
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Kara: Come to see the show?
Brendan Frye: No.
Assistant VP Gary Trueman: You've helped this office out before.
Brendan Frye: No, I gave you Jerr to see him eaten, not to see you fed.
Assistant VP Gary Trueman: Fine. And very well put.
Brendan Frye: Accelerated English, Mrs. Kasprzyk.
Assistant VP Gary Trueman: Tough teacher?
Brendan Frye: Tough but fair.
Brendan Frye: Who's she been eating with?
The Brain: I don't know. That's, um, that's hard to keep track of.
Brendan Frye: Is it?
The Brain: It can be - it can be hard to keep track of those things because lunch - lunch is a lot of things, lunch is difficult.