I wanted to see The Salton Sea the moment I saw its intriguing trailer on the Quicktime site, but it seemingly spent only about five minutes in theaters here in Columbus, Ohio before it disappeared. I think the studio figured it had tax write-off marked all over it, and didn't bother to do much to promote this one.

Which is a real shame, because this is one hell of a movie with a great cast, razor-keen writing, an excellent score, and stylish, smart direction.

The Salton Sea stars Val Kilmer as a widowed jazz trumpet player who adopts the persona of death punker Danny Parker in an undercover attempt to discover his wife's murderers in the seedy world of methamphetamine addicts and dealers.

The movie constantly surprises you. The first part of the film -- which details Parker's wry observations on the world of the tweaker -- leads you to believe that this is going to be a darkly comic Trainspotting with meth addicts. But it gets darker and darker, and suddenly it's squarely in film noir territory.

This was one of the best films I've seen this year, maybe in several years. If you enjoyed films like the original Get Carter and The Limey, this should be just your speed.

Movie Information

Rating: R

Running Time: 103 minutes

Director: C.J. Caruso

Writer: Tony Gayton

Score: Thomas Newman


Val Kilmer: Danny Parker / Tom Van Allen
Vincent D'Onofrio: Pooh-Bear
Adam Goldberg: Kujo
Luis Guzman: Quincy
Doug Hutchison: Gus Morgan
Anthony LaPaglia: Al Garcetti
Glenn Plummer: Bobby
Peter Sarsgaard: Jimmy the Finn
Deborah Kara Unger: Colette
Chandra West: Liz
B.D. Wong: Bubba
R. Lee Ermey: Verne Plummer
Meat Loaf Aday: Bo