HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Deeper You Dig, The
Trouble Brewing
Song Without a Name
Incident in a Ghostland
Relic
Nobody
Now, At Last!
Tales from the Hood
Radio Parade of 1935
Dead
Death at Broadcasting House
Huracan
Ghost Strata
Call to Spy, A
Tailgate
Other Lamb, The
Every Time I Die
Lynn + Lucy
Topsy-Turvy
Honest Thief
Blood and Money
Rose: A Love Story
Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made
Om Dar-B-Dar
Silencing, The
J.R. 'Bob' Dobbs and the Church of SubGenius
Dick Johnson is Dead
Two/One
Cognition
Legacy of Lies
I Am Woman
Alien Addiction
Dare, The
South Terminal
Little Monsters
Yield to the Night
My Zoe
Young Playthings
End of Summer
Times of Harvey Milk, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
Phone Phreak: 976-EVIL on Blu-ray
Living the Nightmare: Dementia on Blu-ray
Becky and The Devil to Pay: Ruckus and Lane Skye Interview
Big Top Bloodbath: Circus of Horrors on Blu-ray
A Knock on the Door at 4 O'clock in the Morning: The Strangers on Blu-ray
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
Tackling the Football Film: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery on Blu-ray
Film Noir's Golden Couple: This Gun for Hire on Blu-ray
The Doctor Who Connection: Invasion on Blu-ray
Hill's Angles: Benny Hill and Who Done It? on Blu-ray
Big Willie Style: Keep It Up Downstairs on Blu-ray
Walt's Vault: 5 Cult Movies on Disney+
Paradise Lost: Walkabout on Blu-ray
Buster Makes Us Feel Good: Buster Keaton - 3 Films (Volume 3) on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 3 - Don't Go Away - I Could Do with a Bit of Cheer Now!
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
   
 
  White Sands Danger in the desert
Year: 1992
Director: Roger Donaldson
Stars: Willem Dafoe, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Mickey Rourke, Samuel L. Jackson, Mimi Rogers, M. Emmet Walsh, James Rebhorn, Maura Tierney, Beth Grant, Alexander Nicksay, Frederick Lopez, Miguel Sandoval, John Lafayette, Ken Thorley, Jack Kehler
Genre: ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: Deputy Sheriff Ray Dolezal (Willem Dafoe), a dilligent lawman in a small southwestern town, discovers a dead body in the desert along with a briefcase with $500,000 in cash. Faced with the biggest case of his life, Ray leaves his wife and son and sets out to impersonate the dead man in a bid to solve this mystery. But he ends up out of his depth, entangled with maniacal arms dealer Gorman Lennox (Mickey Rourke), a manipulative FBI agent (Samuel L. Jackson) and thrill-seeking heiress Lane Bodine (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) who is irresistibly drawn to lost causes and dangerous men.

Few things are as frustrating as a film with a promising premise that just does not deliver. Such is the case with White Sands, a noir-ish thriller that starts well but despite solid performances and a decent script strangely lacks the stamina to make good on its potential. Like several other neo-noir efforts from the early Nineties, e.g. Red Rock West (1992), One False Move (1993), the film adopts the western desert as a visual metaphor for the existential void, a vast moral emptiness in which protagonists are free to write their own rules of what is right and wrong as their choices (invariably bad) determine their fate. Ray adopts an alter-ego ostensibly to crack the case but on some level also to experience the danger and excitement unavailable to him in his normal role as dependable deputy and family man.

Scripter Daniel Pyne, a veteran of seminal cop show Miami Vice, dealt with similar themes in his underrated buddy cop comedy The Hard Way (1991). Pyne cleverly positions Lane as Ray’s female counterpart but although Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio shines in an atypical role, Willem Dafoe is exceptional and the development of the sexual tension in their unfolding relationship proves compelling, the film gets so bogged down in the elaborate mechanics of the plot it fails to develop its themes. Australian filmmaker Roger Donaldson has made very fine films including classic twist-laden Kevin Costner thriller No Way Out (1987), Cuban missile crisis drama Thirteen Days (2000) and rousing feel-good true story The World’s Fastest Indian (2005) but also some notorious clunkers like Cocktail (1988), Species (1995) and The Recruit (2002). White Sands falls somewhere between those two stools. Despite pedestrian pacing the plot twists prove intriguing until the third act springs an outlandish revelation that neither convinces nor makes much sense, derailing a hitherto solid story that fizzles out with a limp climax.

On a more positive note, the film looks great with the cinematography of Peter Menzies Jr. casting an apt aura of mystery over the titular shimmering sands plus the score by Patrick O’Hearn stays evocative while low-key. It also features a particularly funny fake sex scene. Aside from early roles for Samuel L. Jackson and Maura Tierney, blink and you’ll miss Mimi Rogers as Ray’s wife (a role surely reduced during post-production), there are uncredited turns from John P. Ryan and Fred Dalton Thompson as arms dealers and the great M. Emmet Walsh, a neo-noir staple since Blood Simple (1983) plays Ray’s trusted coroner. Interestingly, at this point in their careers the two male leads could have played either role though this proved among the last good ones for Rourke before his decade long decline. He plays an oddly relaxed, almost Zen like villain prone to conversational tangents and philosophising. Offbeat but not all that menacing.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2106 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: