The Salton Sea (2002)
Producer-turned-director D.J. Caruso helms this pulpy noir mystery, a dark tale of redemption set among southern California methamphetamine "tweakers" from screenwriter Tony Gayton, who also wrote the same year's Murder by Numbers (2002). Val Kilmer stars as Danny Parker, a tattooed speed freak living in a cesspool of murderous dealers and hardcore addicts who stay up all night in addled, drug-fueled rave parties to indulge their illegal habit. Danny has several hidden agendas, however, one of them involving a pair of brutal narcotics cops (Anthony LaPaglia and Doug Hutchison) and another his beautiful but physically abused neighbor Colette (Deborah Kara Unger). As Danny and his slacker best-buddy Jimmy (Peter Sarsgaard) try to pull off a major drug deal with sadistic, nose-less dealer Pooh Bear (Vincent D'Onofrio) and his henchman, Danny draws closer to the truth about a heartbreaking mystery and a bloody, horrifying resolution that isn't what anyone in his circle expects. Produced by Frank Darabont, The Salton Sea costars Adam Goldberg, Meat Loaf, Luis Guzman and Azura Skye. … More
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Critic Reviews for The Salton Sea
The overall voyage on The Salton Sea is an uneasy one hampered by a confusing story that admits out loud it doesn't know where it's going.
Com boas atuações de Kilmer e D'Onofrio, o filme tem um roteiro razoável, mas sem foco. Salva-se graças ao interessante personagem principal.
Marked by an ambitious style and solid performances, but hampered by a story that buries its primary focus until late in the game.
Is authenticity too much to ask? It's not as if the various drug subcultures don't have enough humor and tragedy built in that you need to take a detour into Fantasyland.
It's a sort of rollercoaster ride through the salvaged wreckage of a hundred similar movies.
Lo lamento, pero este mar no me atrapó como para creerle mucho. Una cinta más, regular y nunca tan buena como el director quiere hacerla parecer, presuntuosa y pasajera...
...[Vincent D'Onofrio's] almost insanely entertaining performance essentially takes the film to an entirely different level...
There's something fundamental missing from this story: something or someone to care about.
While it's all happening, it's entertaining enough, but when it's finished (in a disappointingly conventional manner), it doesn't seem to have been about very much.
It turns out to be just another inane druggie thriller with a revenge plot.
Repellent yet intriguing, brutal yet funny, wicked yet strangely compassionate, The Salton Sea is more about mixing genres and styles than illuminating a credible reality.
By getting myself wrapped up in the visuals and eccentricities of many of the characters, I found myself confused when it came time to get to the heart of the movie.
Overall, this examination of manufactured corruption set against a film noirish swagger may not have the in-depth impact like contemporaries L.A. Confidential or Memento, but this Sea is certainly worth swimming in
Sacrificing content for style, Caruso gives us a lot to look at but little to ponder.
Even with a green Mohawk and a sheet of fire-red flame tattoos covering his shoulder, however, Kilmer seems to be posing, rather than acting. And that leaves a hole in the center of The Salton Sea.
For what it is, it's well-done -- a stylized-beyond-reality derivation of Natural Born Killers, perhaps. Or a more gonzo version of Go or Blow. But the heart has been stylized out of it.
If there's no art here, it's still a good yarn -- which is nothing to sneeze at these days.
Audience Reviews for The Salton Sea
Fans of "Drive," take note: A small movie from 2002 that got far less attention than it deserved, "The Salton Sea," starring Val Kilmer, Vincent D'Onofrio, and Peter Sarsgaard, is a moody, gritty neo-noir worthy of comparison to "Drive." It's nowhere near as good as "Drive," but it's pretty darn good, with a haunting, brooding performance from Kilmer that will stay with you and a scary performance from D'Onofrio that reminded me of Dennis Hopper in "Blue Velvet."
Like "Drive," this film has a lot of toughness and violence, but also an immense amount of heart -- and some moments of dazzling, jazzy style.
Summarizing the plot runs the risk of spoiling the many surprises that the story contains. So I'll just say that the main character (Kilmer) is a loving, easy-going jazz musician who stumbles into a den of vipers and has to find the wherewithal to defend himself against their depredations. It's a rare treat to find a thriller (or any movie, really) built around a protagonist who's a musician.
The weaknesses lie in the film's editing. It's just a bit too languid too often. Also, the central tragedy at the center of the plot is presented in a gauzy, sentimental way, giving this dark film an almost sugary center. This central tragedy also struck me as too much like a hackneyed plot device. It just felt a bit too conventional.
But "Salton Sea" is definitely worth your time and deserves something of a cult following. I keep hearing D'Onofrio's meth-fueled pig sounds somewhere in my head. I can't make it stop. I also keep hearing the sound of the beautiful jazz trumpet that the main character plays as his home burns around him. Bravo to the whole cast and to director D.J. Caruso ("Taking Lives," "Disturbia").
Frank Darabont, can you do no wrong? As for you, Mr. Caruso, why'd you stop making good movies after this? Also, Spun, you suck for stealing camera techniques from this movie.More
Really great. The plot is really smart, just when you think you know what's going on, it flips around completely. Val Kilmer was amazing, I haven't seen him give a performance like this since his Jim Morrison. DJ Caruso is great at giving these really personal stories that, under someone else's hands, might come off as corny. He makes his films have a true sense of meaning, as well as a decent amount of fun.More
If You're Looking for a nice MOVIE you are on wrong address. This Movie is Horrible, I dont want to go in to details. The plot of messed up, the bad guys. Val Kilmer was Awful. Just Terrible Movie.More
The Salton Sea Quotes
- Danny Parker:
- For the people who don't do drugs, or just do them occasionally, it's something that becomes your life, and you belong. You finally hit bottom and you know who you are, because you can't go any lower. When you find... a friendship that you wouldn't have found anywhere else. Still and all, there's a kind of intimacy with those that can go the distance. Sometimes you see the world so clearly... and you know just what to do, and just when to do it. Just what you should've done, and when you should've done it.
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