User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 129 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 17 out of 129

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  1. Jun 29, 2011
    10
    Well written, Well acted, solid artful piece. The Film Noir/Hard boiled "who dunnit" feel fits really well in the director's childhood California high school setting while only feeling forced for brief moments. It's in my top ten films for sure. The pace is for the patient, and the entire vibe requires an understanding or appreciation of Film Noir. Maybe not for everyone, but I saw it as an incredibly well written script with an obvious intended goal for the film. Expand
  2. Oct 20, 2012
    9
    It's a very fun unique film. Joseph Gordon Levitt and Rian Johnson's screenplay carry this film the distance. The dialogue is so well written and so emblematic of 40's crime novels and films it can but only put a smile on your face. And the actors are true to the premise from beginning to end. Not once winking at the audience.
Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. Reviewed by: Jeremy Mathews
    90
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    70
    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.
  3. 75
    "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.