MOVIE REVIEWS

Salton Sea

ADD TO MY FAVORITES

April 26, 2002

Share your thoughts. We appreciate it!

By John Chard January 29, 2017

My name is Tom Van Allen. I'm a trumpet player.

The Salton Sea is directed by D. J. Caruso and written by Tony Gayton. It stars Val Kilmer, Vincent D'Onofrio, Peter Sarsgard, Doug Hutchinson, Anthony LaPaglia, Debora Kara Unger, Adam Goldberg and Luis Guzmán. Music is scored by Thomas Newman and cinematography by Amir Mokri.

Danny Parker (Kilmer) is hanging out with a bunch of methamphetamine users, apparently in an effort to numb the pain of his one time life that saw his wife murdered. Or is he? The word of mouth for it was strong, but no sooner did it hit cinemas than it disappeared off the face of the earth. However, the cult cinema world is often a vibrant place to lurk, enter there and you find The Salton Sea, a wonderfully tricksy and off beat neo-noir awash with misery, revenge, redemption and odd ball characters that are either stuck in purgatory, or heading to nowhereville.

Protagonist Danny Parker leads the film, a man whose identity is fractured after being dealt a blow from the hands of fate, very much in limbo mentally, he none the less has goals to achieve, nothing is never quite as it seems until director Caruso wants us in on the side-shifts. Danny is often in the company of danger and weird characters, from a hopped up harpoon wielding loon, to a no nose psycho (too much meth up the nose will make you lose it kids), via dirty cops and meth heads, it's a world of unease, the twisty plot drawing the viewer in with a kinky smile on its face.

Caruso also pulls off the neat trick of placing humour in this off kilter world without hurting the dramatic harshness of the thematics. There's a quite brilliant sequence that shows a botched crime being attempted by the meth head crew, this we watch at the same time as they discuss about actually pulling the crime off. That it involves a stool sample from Bob Hope should tell you all you need to know about the intelligence of the wannabe perps! Caruso's camera is fluid and he uses certain neo-noir visual tricks of the trade as well (time lapses etc), and he also has a knack for varying the mood without avertying the slowly bubbling to the surface pace that the story requires.

Kilmer is superb, perfectly low-key, there is no need for rage, the yearning for revenge and redemption, for identity, is brought out via calmly delivered dialect, and it's very affecting. D'Onofrio as Pooh Bear, the afore mentioned no nose fella, steals the movie with another of his off the planet nut-jobs. Elsewhere, Sarsgard is as appealing as he has ever been as Danny's stoner best mate, Hutchinson and LaPaglia cut fine figures as dirty cops, while Guzmán and Danny Trejo leave an impressively grungy mark. The only disappointment is the lack of screen time for Kara Unger, a fine actress, she is playing what turns out to be a critical femme fatale role, but really we needed more of her. It's a rare misstep in an otherwise cracking neo-noir that is highly recommended to fans of similarly devilishly fun pictures. 8.5/10

Boo! 2 A Madea Halloween Review

Boo! 2 A Madea Halloween Review

October 23, 2017

Tyler Perry and Madea return in the sequel to last year’s Boo! A Madea Hallow...

Geostorm – A Storm of Terrible

Geostorm – A Storm of Terrible

October 23, 2017

Another disaster film in every sense of the word.

Only the Brave – A Thrilling Story of Camaraderie

Only the Brave – A Thrilling Story of Camaraderie

October 23, 2017

Here’s a story most probably haven’t heard of. There aren’t that many firefig...

BOO 2! A MADEA HALLOWEEN (2017) REVIEW

BOO 2! A MADEA HALLOWEEN (2017) REVIEW

October 23, 2017

NOT ANOTHER MADEA HALLOWEEN MOVIE

#FavHalloweenMovie Photo Contest 2017

#FavHalloweenMovie Photo Contest 2017

October 23, 2017

MovieTimes' Fav Halloween Movie Photo Contest 2017 | Post a photo of your fav...

'Only the Brave' - The story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots falls short of a heroic tribute

'Only the Brave' - The story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots falls short of a heroic tribute

October 19, 2017

Josh Brolin plays Eric Marsh in the woefully inadequate firefighter tribute '...

The Foreigner – A Deep Action Film

The Foreigner – A Deep Action Film

October 19, 2017

Jackie Chan still has it and you definitely don’t want to push him too far.

Professor Marston & The Wonder Women – A Slow Biopic

Professor Marston & The Wonder Women – A Slow Biopic

October 19, 2017

Now here’s a story that you probably haven’t heard of. At least I haven’t. Ev...