Red Rock West


Red Rock West (1993)


Critic Consensus: Red Rock West is a hidden neo-noir gem with some delightful cracks in its surface -- and an opportunity to see Lara Flynn Boyle, Nicolas Cage, Dennis Hopper, and J.T. Walsh go toe-to-toe in all their early '90s glory.


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Movie Info

An offbeat mystery about an average guy who is mistaken for a professional hit-man. Dead tired and flat broke after driving 1,200 miles, Michael, an unemployed Texan, walks into a tavern in tiny Red Rock West, Wyoming, and is immediately offered a job. There's just one problem: the owner thinks Micheal is a hit-man, and the "job" is murdering the owner's wife. Just when Mike decides to take the money and run, the real hit-man arrives, ready to do the job right.

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Nicolas Cage
as Michael Williams
Dan Shor
as Bowman
Vance Johnson
as Mr. Johnson
Ted Parks
as Cashier
Dwight Yoakam
as Truck Driver
Michael Rudd
as Red Rock Bartender
Peter Kevin Quinn
as Truck Drivers Buddy
Jeff Levine
as Country Girl Bartender
Robert Beecher
as Caretaker
Jody Carter
as Caretaker's Wife
Babs Bram
as Receptionist
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Critic Reviews for Red Rock West

All Critics (37) | Top Critics (9)

It's well worth tracking down, wherever you can find it. For it has the kind of tension and energy -- maybe even a touch of delirium -- that is only a memory in most of today's big studio movies.

Mar 13, 2009 | Full Review…

A wry thriller with a keen edge.

Sep 16, 2008
Top Critic

A rather ho-hum if watchable neo-noir, though it's been treated in some quarters as something special.

Sep 16, 2008 | Full Review…

[A] well-played, highly entertaining and playfully ingenious thriller.

Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

It should never have fallen through the cracks. This clever little film is a real find.

May 20, 2003 | Rating: 4.5/5

It is a treasure waiting to be discovered.

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Red Rock West

Entertaining pastiche of noir and western. Notoriously flawed by lack of verisimilitude. The always menacing presence of Dennis Hopper is a plus. A clear inspiration for Oliver Stone's U-Turn.

Pierluigi Puccini
Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer


Lyle: Don't piss on the seat, even if they did. It's bad luck. A neo-noir set in Wyoming that follows all the standards. Nic Cage is the unlucky hero, in over his head. Lara Flynn Boyle is the femme fatale. J.T. Walsh and Dennis Hopper are the ones up to no good. The film is made well enough and manages to be entertaining for the most part. Cage stars as Michael, a man trying to find a job, but do to a dodgy knee that was injured during his time spent in the military, its quite hard for him. Michael stumbles into a bar only to be mistaken for a hitman by the bartender, played by J.T. Walsh, who hires him to kill his wife, played by Boyle. Michael accepts, only to plan on ditching with the half up front paid money. Things go awry as Michael can't seem to get out of town, only to have even more problems once the real hitman, played by Dennis Hopper, shows up. This film is just fine. It plays with the genre by having it set in the midwest, but really doesn't offer much in the way of surprise. So that leaves the filmmaking and the actors involved. Cage does just fine, Hopper is always interesting to watch, and I do miss the standard type of character that Walsh used to play before he died. Director John Dahl also manages to do a good enough job at throwing in some tension and action our way, which certainly keeps the film's pace moving. A fine thriller. Michael Williams: Adios, Red Rock.

Aaron Neuwirth
Aaron Neuwirth

Super Reviewer

Mistaken for a hired killer, drifter Nicolas Cage is offered $5,000 to murder a local bar owner's wife, who in turn offers him $10,000 to return the favour. Planning to just keep the money and skip town, he finds leaving Red Rock is a lot harder than he figured. This heavily Tarantino influenced noir-western hybrid has so many twists and turns, double crosses and double bluffs that by the end you're not sure you're coming or going. It's also a little dated as Lara Flynn Boyle must surely be the worst dressed femme fatale in cinema history. On the plus side, it looks good, has a nice soundtrack and is short and efficient enough to not outstay its welcome. Cage is doing his put-upon "this can't be happening to me!" persona rather than the usual bellowed sarcasm so he's quite bearable and J. T. Walsh and Dennis Hopper make a couple of colourful bad guys. Undemanding yet unpretentious, its very silly, but enjoyably so.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

A pretty decent thriller with a lot of well known faces. It's about a drifter making out to be a hitman, but things go from strange to worse when he finds out who the client is and and the real hitman shows up. Worth a look next time it comes on TV.

Dean King
Dean King

Super Reviewer

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