(out of 5)

An excellent screenplay and some wonderfully strange characters are undermined by shoddy direction in this teen film noir.  plays a high-schooler who investigates the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend, plunging him into the underworld of thugs and femme fatales that leads to a drug-dealing “kingpin” () who holds many of the answers. Equal parts Dashiell Hammett, James Ellroy and Mulholland Drive, this film is hampered by a rushed delivery of dialogue that reveals an obviously hectic shooting schedule, and poor editing that gives it a sluggish pace instead of the indulgently mellow one that it obviously deserves. Some really terrific, cult-inspiring elements abound though, my favourite being the bad girl singing a beatnik version of Gilbert & Sullivan.

Bergman Lustig Productions

USA, 2005

Directed by Rian Johnson

Screenplay by Rian Johnson

Cinematography by 

Produced by ,

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by Rian Johnson

Independent Spirit Awards 2005.

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