Between his role as the adorable kid on 90's sitcome 3rd Rock from the Sun and his leap to leading man status in 2012, Joseph Gordon-Levitt made a peculiar film with Looper writer/ director Rian Johnson.
I cannot begin to imagine how my high school brain would have dealt with this movie, but I am fairly certain I would have believed it to be The Best Movie Ever. Basically, it's a faux-Dashiell Hammett mystery set in a high school with a hard-boiled detective replaced by a hard-boiled high school senior, playing the angles and trying to get to the mystery that opens the film, of what happened to his ex-girlfriend who had reached out to him days before for help, seemingly wrapped up in some trouble with local drug peddlers.
The film is both curiously believable as a low-level crime story happening in the margins around high schoolers, just outside the periphery of parent or teacher supervision. But because of the similarities to the stories of Hammett and Chandler that have so permeated western fiction, it's also an interesting point of view that the sorts of things we usually tie to the adult world we know are happening just out of view even in suburban sprawl at public high schools.
I do wish some of the writing were a bit tighter, but it's a signature move of Chandler or Hammett work to see the plot become so twisted it takes a chart to keep it all straight. That sort of thing pays off well in repeated viewings, and while I did watch this movie years ago (probably in 2007) I'll probably not wait 6 years between viewings again so I don't feel like I'm just playing catch-up the whole time.
Joseph Gordon-Leviitt shows chops that so many child actors dream of having but never develop as they get older and have the usual post-child star tail spin. If you want to see some of what materialized on the big screen in 2012 with this guy in an earlier stage, I think JGL was already pretty excellent here.