BLU-RAY/DVD REVIEWS

003558Reviews & Counting
SEARCH BY TITLE # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
The Salton Sea
DVD disk
Oct 8, 2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
The Salton Sea order
Director:
D.J. Caruso

Actors:
Val Kilmer
Vincent D'Onofrio
Peter Sarsgaard

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

star Printer-Friendly version
comment
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Danny Parker (Kilmer) is a confused man set adrift in a sea of addiction and a dangerous life among street folk. Things go terribly wrong when he tries to book one last big drug score with a messed up crystal meth cook and he reveals himself to be unsure of his own identity and involved in a deadly scheme.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
You can chalk me up as one of those guys whos always up for a healthy dose of Val Kilmer and even though some of his projects are somewhat questionable (RED PLANET anyone?), you cant say the man doesnt take chances and thats why Id rather take a stab at one of his crappy movies than one of Tom Hanks out-of-the-can tear-jerkers. That being said, this was not one of Mr. Kilmers crappy movies. It wasnt at all what I expected but it definitely wasnt crappy. Now not crappy is hardly a great sign of encouragement but give me some time here. THE SALTON SEA is a little bit like the recipe it describes for cooking crystal meth. A bunch of things that sound a bit weird at first and that on their own would be useless, mixed together in a dangerous manner to form a delightful finished product that can give you a nice buzz and make you fear sunlight.

This is an offbeat film noir about a guy trying to solve his wifes murder while hooked up on so much drugs that he can barely walk straight. Hes got drug enemies looking for him, hes got cops looking for him, hes got two-bit pushers aiming spear guns at him and now he has to deal with a disgusting slob of a dealer (DOnofrio) who used so much crank himself he had to get his own nose amputated. So pick my balls off and call me a girl, this guy has more problems in one day than most people have in a lifetime. Kilmer is ideal to play this character since he can be as much of an asshole as he can be the loveable guy next door. The scene-stealer though is DOnofrio in the role of Pooh Bear, the aforementioned noseless meth cook. That dude is grotesque enough to make you want to protect your own nose forever and his character is so unstable and unpredictable that you really get that inner feeling that hes the kind of guy you do not want to be around at all. A pretty complete ensemble cast is also present, including Peter Sarsgaard, Anthony LaPaglia, Luis Guzman, Deborah Kara Unger and others.

The prevailing mood in the film was also really cool, going back and forth from dark and gloomy to sunny and playful. Director D.J. Caruso did a pretty nice job of varying the mood and keeping the rather convoluted plot in check so as not to totally lose people. The music is also quite slick and some moments in the film are pretty funny, something I didnt expect and something that didnt feel out of place, even in a film noir. Too often, these traumatized characters become a bit too one-dimensional and brooding but this one managed to keep it a little more real. Nice work overall. I really enjoyed it.
THE EXTRAS
A few things worthy of notice were offered as bonus material but nothing that really blew me away. The first feature is a series of cast interviews called embracing the chaos. At about 10 minutes in length, pretty much all the players were included as well as the director. I liked hearing DOnofrio discuss his method though. He gained 45lbs for the role and his streak of making one fat movie, one skinny movie, one fat movie, one skinny movie is kept intact. The most confusing interview was Deborah Kara Ungers. I challenge anyone to listen to her and figure out what the hell shes talking about. Keep it simple sweetie, were not all masters of the esoteric arts.

Next up was a pretty flimsy listing of the cast & crew. The only ones you could expand into filmographies are Kilmer and DOnofrio on the cast side and Caruso and writer Tony Gayton on the crew side. Other than these four, its nothing you didnt see in the end credits or figured out during the movie. Following that is an 8-minute long documentary entitled Meth and method: the production design of The Salton Sea. Hosted by production designer Tom Southwell, it was pretty much a description of the sets and an explanation of their conception. The coolest ones were the trailer park meth lab and Pooh Bears desert ranch. The theatrical trailer is also there and upon closer inspection, I cant say as it really gave a very accurate impression of the film.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
This film pleasantly surprised me since I hadnt heard much word-of-mouth about it and had pretty average expectations. Kilmer rocked as usual and so did big fatty DOnofrio, along with the flick's original premise. Its really the kind of film Id want to see again but not right away so a strong rental is pretty much what I would advise, unless you want to watch it while stoned on meth yourself, in which case, it may work over and over again.
Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

JoBlo's T-Shirt Shoppe | support our site... Wear Our Gear!