Val Kilmer gives us Tom Van Allen, a jazz musician embarked on a quest through the world of methamphetamine dealers, users and other predators. Kilmer is wonderful, as usual, in this alternately harrowing and hilarious post-Pulp Fiction noir thriller.
The whole cast is pretty wonderful as well. I especially enjoyed Vincent D'Onofrio as an eccentric drug dealer who has clearly been too long in the high desert.
The real standout element of the film, however, is the photography by Amir Mokri. Unlike some neo-noir, Mokri and director D.J. Caruso effectively balance high-key daytime shots with the darker interior and night shots, and all of them are excellently done.
The best elements of the screenplay are the many funny scenes, including a might-have-been heist gone wrong, a recreation of the JFK assassination, and a wonderful update of the "Easy Andy" scene from Taxi Driver.
The Salton Sea is worth seeing for fans of Kilmer, noir or both.
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