Rian Johnson is now entrusted with multi-gazillion dollar Star Wars entries, but in his charming debut he mashes up film noir with high school melodrama. It’s a genius fit – after all, what’s more fatalistic than high school? However, Johnson’s direction impressed me more than his script here. He goes overboard with affectations, like cutesy character names (Tug, The Pin, The Brain…) and an almost parodic take on hard-boil dialogue that muddles the plot and doesn’t jibe with the film’s on-the-level, unironic intentions. But again, it’s a great idea, and Johnson’s visually arresting film is filled with powerful images, strong performances, and surprisingly dynamic characters.