2014, Focus Features, 100 min, USA, Dir: Rian Johnson

This debut feature from writer-director Rian Johnson takes the cinematic traditions of hard-boiled film noir and wittily immerses them in fresh territory - a modern-day Southern California high school. Fiercely intelligent student Brendan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) prefers to stay an outsider, but when his ex-girlfriend reaches out to him unexpectedly and then vanishes, he enlists the aid of his only true peer, The Brain (Matt O’Leary), to get to the bottom of things. Brendan’s single-minded unearthing of students’ secrets thrusts him up against colliding school cliques and, most ominously, non-student criminal The Pin (Lukas Haas).

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