80

The Hollywood Reporter

By Frank Scheck
Christopher Nolan's noirish thriller is an uncommonly polished and assured feature debut, highly clever textually and supremely accomplished technically. This ultra low-budget exercise marks the emergence of a significant directorial talent. [13 April 1999]
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80

Total Film

Impressively acted by the unknown cast, and eerily shot in black and white, Nolan successfully creates his own distinctive cinematic world, leaving en route a trail of objects which may or may not have any meaning.
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80

The New York Times

By Janet Maslin
The usual elements of scheming and deception are well represented here, but they are made all the knottier by shifting time frames.
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75

Miami Herald

Following is a pitch-black crime story, but never forgets its gentler side. It is, at 70 minutes, a slim movie, but by the time it concludes in inevitable tragedy, Nolan's characters have accomplished something rare for an openly nihilistic work: sympathy. [10 Sep 1999, p.10G]
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75

San Francisco Chronicle

By Mick LaSalle
That the movie succeeds as thoroughly as it does -- getting deeper and creepier as it goes along -- is evidence of a far-seeing creative imagination. Nolan is a compelling new talent.
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70

Los Angeles Times

By Kevin Thomas
As a psychological mystery it plays persuasively if not profoundly. Nolan relishes the sheer nastiness he keeps stirred up, unabated for 70 minutes. You can, too, provided you don't ask more of it.
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63

Chicago Sun-Times

It's an ambitious undertaking, this mix of Mamet and Godard, and it is to Nolan's credit that he takes it on so early in his cinematic career. It doesn't completely click, but there is plenty in this 70-minute black-and-white exercise to keep us involved.
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50

Austin Chronicle

By Marc Savlov
Unnerving and occasionally witty, were it not for its weak third act, Nolan's film might fall just short of genius. As it is, though, it's unique nonetheless.
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50

Boston Globe

There are moments in Christopher Nolan's thematically ambitious film noir that make you wish he had the time and money and, to a certain degree, talent, to fulfill his lofty goals. [11 Feb 2000, p.C9]
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50

Variety

By Dennis Harvey
Climactic triple-cross is a satisfying payoff, though scenarist-helmer Nolan doesn’t really sock across any possible point of emphasis – black humor is soft-pedaled, suspense just middling, and the character writing keeps classic fall guy Bill a bit too blank-slate to incur much sympathy.
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60 out of 100
Generally favorable reviews
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.