Critic Reviews



Based on 34 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
The A.V. Club
Manages to be visually arresting, packed with geeky allusions to everything from Raymond Chandler to "Blue Velvet."
With brilliant dialogue out of the 1940s and graceful visuals that add depth to the dark comedy, Johnson debuts with a smart, self-assured feature that portrays adolescence like no other film has.
All in all, this twerpy little movie is one of the most entertaining pictures to be released so far this year.
The mean streets don't get any nastier than the high school parking lots in this cool-crafted mystery.
"Sensational" is the word for Joseph Gordon-Levitt (equally striking in Mysterious Skin), who stars as Brendan, the teen outsider who becomes a budding Bogart.
New York Magazine (Vulture)
Writer-director Rian Johnson gives the usual teen angst an entertaining kick. But the joke wears off, and what's left is as convoluted and monotonous as any conventional hard-boiled mystery.
The story, while derivative, isn't half bad, and the picture gains in finesse and confidence to the point where Johnson more or less pulls off his peril-fraught exercise.
Chicago Reader
It's worth seeing for the tightly coiled plot, well-realized characters, and novel take on rapacious teen culture.
Village Voice
The hair may thin considerably under Brick's hat after a while, and Hammett redone remains Hammett half done, but while the plates are in the air, it's a spectacle of nerve.
L.A. Weekly
Johnson pulls us into his world and keeps things oddly plausible, despite the intense stylization

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