The Salton Sea (2002)

Why couldn’t Val Kilmer hang as Batman? He kicks so much ass.

Punk-rocking speed freak Danny Parker (Val Kilmer) freelances as an informant for a pair of brutal narcotics cops (Anthony LaPaglia and Doug Hutchison). But when he’s not assisting the cops on drug busts, Danny gets high and leads a double life as a talented, mild-mannered trumpeter named Tom Van Allen. One personality is in search of his wife’s killer, but reality is evasive.

I’m not going to lie but this film is all over the place. It starts off very quick, fast, and funny which got me ready for a fun-filled, crime comedy, but instead turns out to be something a lot more than that.

The problem I had with this film was that it’s pace is sort of all over the world. It’s quick, and fun in the first 15 minutes, but then you start to notice that it dies down, and gets a lot more serious. I didn’t have much of a problem with this change of pace, as much as I had with it’s genre mixing. This is honestly a crime thriller, with features of neo-noir, and under lining humor. It seems crazy just describing it, and it really is when you see it play out.

However, when the film isn’t being slow, and dramatic, it actually does a good job at creating a entertaining story. The side dealers we meet in this film are funny, and entertaining, providing plenty of humor for this film. And the action, when it happens, works very well and will please any gun-loving maniac.

But that almost seems to be able to cover up for the fact that the story-line can be terribly confusing sometimes. I wasn’t as confused with the story as much as others were, but I will admit that you could get easily confused right away. There are certain twists, here and there that will keep you glued, and explain a lot about the story. But for others it will just mean more confusion, to a already confusing story.

Val Kilmer is the man. He can pretty much play any role you put in front of him, and although it may not be the greatest thing you ever see, it’s still entertaining to watch him play these crazy characters. We cheer on Val Kilmer here, it’s easy to get behind him, with his casual approach to all the craziness happening, and ways of figuring things out right away. But he is only the straight-main in this film, as everybody else is used as even better entertainment. Vincent D’Onofrio does a good job as the crazy drug-dealer Pooh, who brings so much to the film, that it actually takes the film to a different level. Peter Sarsgaard is good here playing a crazed-out “tweeker”, and his act never gets old. You also got other satisfying supporters such as Adam Goldberg, Doug Hutchison, Anthony LaPaglia, and Luis Guzman.

Consensus: It’s entertaining, and does a lot with a story that seems crazy at first, but many will find themselves confused, as well as wondering whether they should laugh or not, by what’s actually happening.




  1. I really think this is an amazing film. Very underrated. It had a noir-like quality that kept me watching the film throughout. It’s a shame D.J. Caruso has wasted his talents to make lame Hollywood films. And why isn’t Val Kilmer given the comeback he deserves?

  2. Man, I haven’t seen this one in a long time but I really enjoyed it and was surprised by that fact. Val Kilmer needs to stop doing the crap that he’s doing lately and get back to some great roles. Someone give the guy something he can really work with!

  3. i love kilmer but the man has just kept getting fatter.
    be sure and catch in him summer love, the polish western, if you haven’t seen it yet. he gets shot right at the beginning and lies dead in the street through the whole complete movie. now that’s acting!

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