With J.T. Walsh, Dennis Hopper, and Lara Flynn Boyle in your desert thriller, it's hard to go wrong, and in his riveting sophomore feature, John Dahl rarely gets tripped up. Why, even Nicolas Cage is in fine form, filling this small movie with wit and a surprising toughness that is refreshing in a world of pulled punches and pointless violence. Tragically, Dahl's output has slowly meandered into irrelevant Hollywood fluff, but you can remember some of his great, early work with this film. It gets a little self-consciously twisty in the last act, but it's all good. This trip through the Wyoming desert (though none of it was shot there) is one you won't soon forget.
A capable first film noir from John Dahl (Red Rock West, The Last Seduction) relies far too much on coincidence and no-one-would-really-do-that moments to work. Kilmer and his then-wife Whalley make a good pair as a bad excuse for a private investigator and the woman who hires him to fake her death. When the cops and the various criminals in pursuit of her (including Madsen in his most over-the-top role ever) catch up, it's a madhouse of slaughter! Nice try, but Dahl's later work is better (okay, not including Unforgettable).