Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Cinema Talk - The Salton Sea (2002)

Director:D.J. Caruso
Writer (WGA):Tony Gayton
Cast: Val Kilmer ... Danny Parker/Tom Van Allen
Vincent D'Onofrio ... Pooh-Bear
Peter Sarsgaard ... Jimmy the Finn
Deborah Kara Unger... Colette
Chandra West ... Liz

Plot Summary: After the murder of his beloved wife, Danny Parker (Val Kilmer) is set adrift in a world where nothing is as it seems. On his journey He befriends slacker Jimmy the Fin (Peter Sarsgaard) and becomes involved in rescuing his neighbor Colette (Debra Kara Unger) from her own demons. Danny is antagonized by undercover narcotics agents (Anthony Lapaglia and Doug Hutchison) and sadistic dealer Pooh Bear (Vincent D'Onfronio)


"Who am I?", he asks in breathy narration as he surveys the flames licking at his feet with a detached nonchalance, "Avenging angel? Judas Incarnate? Prodigal son? Loving husband? Trumpet player? Speed freak? You decide."He gives away both his names, I am Danny Parker or Tom Van Allen, and you are so mesmerised by the visual that you nearly miss out the real truth as he is giving away both the names, and why did he choose to be Danny Parker - the low rug rat.

Van Kilver voice-over is intense, sober and it creeps under your skin looking in for answers to his questions. An intense performance from the very first shot from the towering ceiling to the floors as his apartment is on fire, and Van Kilmer playing one of the Miles Davis's trumpet numbers.

We enter to the world of drugs and the search of gak (Methamphetamine), which Poor Danny is addicted ends with Chemical Brother’s "Let Forever be". "Requiem for a Dream" meets "memento" and they both meet "Train spotting".

Kilmer is greatly supported by Peter Sarsgaard, and we meet some amazing characters in their loosely unreal world of four day drug fiesta or it was three, as Danny can hardly remembers.
You dip in and out of the plot but still seem to miss some links, you seem to get hold of the threads Danny is loosing for you but at the same time, feel them around your neck. Although, it can be said, the film plays to the gallery - I mean the stylization, the suspense build-up and production design of film - noir lighting just makes the film too correct. The sleek treatment of the visuals makes the film too finesse to portray the drug industry or mechanism.

From the mesmerising gun dealer to pooh-bear's portrayal by Vincent D'Onofrio, the performances in the film are worth rooting for. DJ Caruso, took all the chances but at the same time, didn't take any.

Art director Douglas Cumming and cinematographer Amir M. Mokri have combined to stunning effect to realize screenwriter Tony Gayton's vision, creating a dreamscape mood that stylistically blends normality with the hallucinogenic haze of the addict.

So, Dive in to the dark world put together by Curoso, and yes Van Kilmer will not stop short of surprising you, every time you try and settle down.

My Rating: 9/10

This film has steamrolled into my favorite film list, well, after a long gap, a new entry, I am excited!!


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