A nerd tries to solve a gang murder to protect his crush. But then, he discovers the shocking truth.

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A nerd tries to solve a gang murder to protect his crush. But then, he discovers the shocking truth.

Director Zach Wechter offers a compelling mashup of film noir, gritty urban drama and a dash of Shakespeare, complete with elegantly hard-boiled writing and sharp performances.

A teen student with a rep as a high school detective is working away at a library when an entrancing femme fatale type entices him onto a “case,” trying to solve a local murder and prevent a false accusation.

As he makes his way through the trail of clues, he gets deeper into a world of deception, corruption and heightened emotions that reveals a tangle of murky passion and desire.

The film is a riff on classic film noir, transported to a young modern milieu. Like other noir classics, the dialogue is hard-edged and full of rhythm and style, the lighting is moody and expressionistic and the score and camerawork are excellent all around.

Overall, “Straight Down Low” is a fresh, well-crafted pulse-pounding tale of crime and passion, just like the old-school classics it’s inspired from. Compelling and smart, the movie’s 20 minutes are packed with suspense and style — and will keep you on the edge of your seat until its surprising conclusion.

He pieces it together at 17:39… but then at 20:17…

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