I can't trust you. Brad was a sap, you weren't, you were with him and so you were playing him, so you're a player. With you behind me I'd have to tie one eye up watching both your hands and I can't spare it.
High school students do not talk like Sam Spade or Ned Beaumont. Were I reading that excerpt of dialogue without having seen the film, I would raise an eyebrow and scoff. But in this film, it works, down to the conventions of the detective genre and the characters' offbeat nicknames. Once you suspend your disbelief long enough to accept that these seventy year old conventions apply to a modern high school, you're hooked. It's The Breakfast Club meets Miller's Crossing.Gordon-Levitt you may recognize from the dreadful, dreadful 1990s sitcom, Third Rock from the Sun. He's made an effort of late to distance himself from that more mainstream fare with this film and 2001's Manic, a chronicle of a young man's stay at a juvenile mental facility shot entirely on digital video. The only other actors who will seem familiar are Lukas Haas (as a would-be drug kingpin), Emilie de Ravin (who you might know as Claire from Lost), and Richard Roundtree (in a brief cameo as an assistant vice principal, one of the few adults in the cast of characters). You may not dig the offbeat approach to the high school film, but you can't say it's not different. These days, with all of the detritus at the multiplexes, it's nice to see something at least attempt to be different or creative, and that is what this film does, especially if you love the 1930s.
This was an excellent, if stiltedly paced, film. Gordon-Levitt is definitely pursuing that Robert Downey track towards skillful acting. I thought his turn as a hockey pro turned unreliable narrator, er, janitor, in "The Lookout" was also worthy.
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