So I just finished watching Brick (2005) for the second time. The first time around I thought it was decent neo-noir. This time, I think it's borderline brilliant. It's set in high school, but the characters speak noiresque patter, so they end up sounding a bit like Buffy characters gone very dark. And it's excellently cast, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lukas Haas, and Nora Zehetner as the requisite wounded PI, twisted baddie, and femme fatale.
During the extras, the creator, Rian Johnson, lists Dashiel Hammett as a big inspiration, especially regarding the dialog. The film got a special jury prize for "Originality of Vision" at Sundance. I've gotta say of all the indie films that went big at Sundance that I've seen, this is the only one that I've not only wanted to watch more than once, but seriously started to consider buying.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt has grown up. It's pretty freaky seeing the kid from Angels in the Outfield, 3rd Rock from the Sun, and 10 Things I Hate About You be this grownup and emotionally locked down. His desolate eyes haunt me long after the credits fade. I'd love to see him and his 10 Things co-stars Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles do something together again now they're growing into their talents and pulling off heavy roles.