Salton Sea, The (2001) - Synopsis

Salton Sea, The (2001) - main synopsis imageCaught up in the permanent nighttime of the habitual methamphetamine user, Danny Parker (Val Kilmer) and his friends close the curtains so they can't tell what time of day it is. But while his associates revel in their highs, Danny is haunted by his previous life as Tom Van Allen, a trumpet player who lost his wife (Chandra West) in the crossfire of a shoot out. In an effort to find his wife's killer, Tom became a police informant, adopting a heavily-tattooed disguise. When he discovers that a Mexican drug lord has put a hit out on him, Danny decides to pull one last score--unfortunately involving Pooh-Bear (Vincent D'Onofrio), a childlike kingpin with a penchant for torture and a yawning void where his nose once was.

D.J. Caruso's debut is a beautifully photographed punk-noir set against the backdrop of a gang of speed freaks in contemporary L.A. Opening with a brief history of methamphetamine, THE SALTON SEA immediately establishes an original tone for its kaleidoscopic tour through well-traveled territory. Taking its cue from the wave of mid-1990s crime films, the script by Tony Gayton (MURDER BY NUMBERS) delivers the usual doses of hip "gallows" humor, but also infuses the proceedings with dollops of pain and loss, often shifting the tone to that of the more soulful, responsible crime films of the 1970s.