Pretty slow for a flick about speed freaks.


Cliffnotes review:
Pretty slow for a flick about speed freaks.

This film goes to: 6
Rated (R)
Directed by: D. J. Caruso
Starring: Val Kilmer, Vincent D'Onofrio, Peter Sarsgaard, Deborah Unger
Written by: Tony Gayton
103 minutes
Castle Rock Entertainment
Official Site

So I have a question… what exactly makes a studio declare a film fit for STeVe-age (Straight To Video)? Quintuple plot twists? Relatively poor pacing? Val Kilmer? The Salton Sea has all of the above but was definitely not a strong candidate for the multi-plex dodge. With adequate acting, an excellent supporting cast and not-too-horible storyline, I expected better treatment. Try as I might, I will never understand Hollywood.

Sea actually features some inspired performances, witty drug references and scenarios, often beautiful cinematography and a somewhat unfortunate resemblance to the unholy union of Fight Club, Memento and The Crow. This is not a pretty offspring but is certainly not horrible enough to warrant relegation to the bargain bin at the local video store. Unfortunately, that is where one should look if one were seeking a whacked out identity crisis out for revenge sprinkled with equally whacked out sidekicks and miscreants. (Note: The previous sentence is an apt description of both the characters and plotline of the film in question.)

Kilmer plays Danny Parker/Tom Van Allen, former/present trumpet player who is steeped in remorse (and crystal meth) following his wife's untimely demise. Kilmer has found a new family in a group of fellow tweakers portrayed aptly by Peter Sarsgaard, Adam Goldberg et al who attempt to set up a rather large purchase of a rather copious amount of narcotics from a rather demented cooker (the ever-amazing Vincent D'Onofrio). So Parker/Van Allen gets caught up in the mess that is the life of a meth head and hilarity does not ensue.

Actually, for a film that centers around the life of someone on record-breaking amounts of speed, Sea moves a bit slowly and, in the end, seems to try to jump on too many bandwagons at once. It definitely gets caught in the twist-ending trap that seems to have run rampant since The Sixth Sense and what might have been a fairly inspiring look into the lost soul seeking to lose himself further ends with a fizzle. Though far from the best fare to make the list this year, The Salton Sea was likewise far from the worst and therein lies the confusion of its demise as the latest in a long line of STeVes.

The extras for The Salton Sea featured a short but informative cast and crew interview and a design featurette. Cast bios were scant to say the least as were crew credential pages. The original trailer was also included. If one were so inclined, one could watch the movie in French as well as English (brush up on that French drug culture terminology, kiddies!) and the DVD also featured captions in English, French and Spanish.

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Critter Critique: This week's review brought to you by Gavin.
Fatal Attraction:  Yet another example of Hollywood schlock served up in a double boiler. Though Fatal Attraction starts innocently enough, I was shocked and appalled to witness the on-screen atrocity put forth as entertainment in act three. Trust me, this one is not fit for man nor beast. Ginger Pants