This is a truly astounding film. It is Film Noir in the truest sense, whilst giving it a new twist by taking on the the original, modern-day setting of an American high-school. The cinematography, score, direction and acting throughout contribute to making this film a really captivating and enjoyable experience.
The film portrays teenage issues but originally within an adult framework and shot in a traditional noir style. The plot revolves around high-school loner Brendan Frye (played by Joseph Gordon-levitt, better known as the young one in hit tv show 3rd Rock From the Sun), who tries to track down his missing ex-girlfriend. The trail leads him into the underworld of high-school crime, a gripping mystery ensues leading him back deeper and deeper into the unwanted world of violence and betrayal he had tried to leave behind.
The style and pace of the film is reminiscent of noir classics such as The Maltese Falcon and Chinatown. Bringing the traditional detective story to modern day suburbia with teenage american politics as the context. The film takes you into the sometimes warped, but I feel accurately portrayed mind of the 21st century teenager (although technically set in the 80s) in a way never attempted before and at the same time bringing noir back to the fore.
Also I must disagree with previous reviewers who complained about the films cinematography and dialogue. I would agree with the comments that the dialogue in particular is out of place, IF this was a shot in a more generally accepted style of film-making, but it's not, it's film noir and as such fits absolutely perfectly with the pace and plot of the movie.
So if you want to see an extremely original, gripping and thought provoking film then check it out. It may not suit everyone but it's definitley worth a look. Highly reccommended.