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4.3 out of 5 stars19
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 14 November 2000
As good as if not better than the Coen brother's Fargo, Red Rock West is definitely worth the time. Down and out Nicholas Cage plays a guy who enters the town looking for work who enters a lonely solitary and gloomy bar where he is mistaken for the hitman hired by the barman, who is also the sheriff, to kill his wife. Cage takes the money and approaches the sherrif's wife informing her what her husband has planned for her.It is from here that Cage becomes trapped by the small town, unable to leave and escape the deceit and lies............things get real messy, however, when the real hitman, Dennis Hopper, comes to town!!
Littered with twists and wonderful performances Red Rock West is a must see. The film is superbly delivered, well constructed and wonderfully written. The portrayal of the town as a lonely, deserted, stark and desolate place in the middle of nowhere is particularly effective and is complemented well by Cage's acting.
Just lay back and watch, if you liked Fargo, you're gonna love this!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 March 2013
Red Rock West is directed by John Dahl who also co-wrote the screenplay with his brother Rick. It stars Nicolas Cage, Dennis Hopper, Lara Flynn Boyle, J. T. Walsh and Timothy Carhart. Music is by William Olvis and cinematography by Marc Reshovsky.

When a promised job in Wyoming fails to materialise on account of an injury sustained in combat, Michael Williams (Cage) drifts into the town of Red Rock and is mistaken in a bar for a hitman hired to kill an unfaithful wife. Tempted by the high cash on offer, Michael plays along and promptly finds himself in a web of intrigue from which escape is looking unlikely...

Welcome To Red Rock/You Are Now Leaving Red Rock.

The studio didn't know what to do with it, a neo-noir flavoured with contemporary Western spices. Put out on cable in America and thriving on its limited release in Europe, it started to gain a cult fan-base. More so after a theatre in the Frisco Bay area started showing it and it made considerable coinage. Today it still remains more of a cult piece than anything else, which while it deserves more accolades and exposure, is still kind of nice for the fans, because it's like we have our own little neo-noir treasure all to ourselves.

Red Rock West is essential for the neo-noir heads and well worthy of inspection by the average modern day crime film fan. Plot wise it's a bit, shall we say iffy? Yet the twists, turns and characterisations are so deftly constructed and performed, it matters not a jot. Cage's ex-marine is an honest and decent guy who whilst down on his luck - punished for his honesty - finds himself in a vortex of mystery and murder that he can't escape from. His companions in this scenario are film noir staples, the femme fatale (Boyle) with a smoulder as big as her secret, the hit-man (Hopper) with a glint in his eye to accompany his callous leanings, and the shifty bar owner (Walsh) trying to off his wife whilst keeping his shady cards close to his chest.

As the tricksy plot unfolds in a haze of bad judgements and untruths, further pulsed by the vagaries of fate, it becomes apparent that Dahl wants us to know it isn't taking itself too seriously. There's a glorious scent of dark humour hanging in the air, an unpretentiousness about the whole thing that's refreshing. The look and feel is perfect for the narrative, the colour is stripped back to create a moody atmospheric surround, while the score and sound-tracking immediately brings to mind country and western tales of woe. Dahl knows his noir onions, but this is not just a homage hat tipper to the past, he understands what works in noir, be it the blending of the quirky with the edgy, or scene setting in locales such as a colourless bar and a foggy cemetery, Dahl gets the key ingredients right to deliver the goods wholesale.

The small cast come up trumps. Boyle as Suzanne Brown is weak if her femme fatale is pitted against the likes of Matty Walker or Bridget Gregory, but it's an adequate performance that doesn't hinder the picture. She is helped enormously, though, by having to share most scenes with Cage who brings his "A" game. Consistently inconsistent throughout his career, Cage, when on form is a joy to watch, here he gets to thrive as a put upon hero, shifting seamlessly between confusion and boldness, where incredulous looks are the order of the day with a side order of eccentric intensity. Hopper does what he does so well, amusing villainy, while Walsh is effortlessly menacing and suspicious. In small secondary support Carhart and country star Dwight Yoakam leave favourable impressions.

This is not an edge of your seat thriller, or a cranium bothering piece of dramedy, it's neo-noir done right. Where morality is grey at best and money is the root of all evil, it's slick, playful, cold blooded and absorbing. Hooray! 9/10
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on 25 July 2009
Beyond the incredible direction, the wonderful script and the spectacular acting, the most important thing to understand about this movie is that it's a film about `Karma' and `Luck.'

In this movie, Nicholas Cage's character is honest to a fault. And on top of that, he is also what Dennis Hopper describes as "One Lucky Son of a *****."

In the US Marine Corps, he survived a Truck Bomb that killed 114 other troops. But of course, in this movie there is always bad luck to balance out every good turn. So every time that Nicholas Cage's character manages to escape, to win or to `Get the Upper Hand,' the Universe decides to come along and to kick him squarely in the teeth.

At the beginning of the film, it's his uncharacteristic dishonesty that places Nicholas Cage in mortal danger. And in the end, it is his honesty that eventually breaks him out of this cycle. Because in the words of `G'Kar' in the TV series `Babylon 5;'

"If you face the Universe with good intentions in your heart, it will reflect those intentions and reward your intent. It just doesn't always do so in the way that you expect."

So even though I don't believe in `Luck,' `Karma' or any kind of `Grand Design,' this film is a wonderful affirmation of the idea that good things will happen to good people...eventually.
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on 19 September 2000
I never thought I would use this expression to describe a movie, but I feel more than confidenet using it for Red Rock West. I first saw this movie in 1994 and have done my utmost to convert others since then. Without giving too much away, Nicholas Cage plays the hapless Michael Williams, a man who, through a case of mistaken identity, is presented with an offer which is just too good to refuse. But just when you think he is going to live happily ever after....the plot thickens. And it keeps thickening - every 15 minutes - so keep up! This is engrossing, edge-of-the-seat stuff. Infinitely better than Dahl's The Last Seduction. Love him or hate him, Cage is excellent in this.
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HALL OF FAMEon 15 August 2007
A basically decent drifter (Nicolas Cage) lands in the tiny town of Red Rock, Wyoming, looking for work. When he stops in the bar, the bar owner (J. T. Walsh) asks why he took so long and asks him to step in the back office so they can discuss the job. Cage plays along, then discovers the work is to kill the bar owner's wife. He takes the money, drives out to the ranch to warn the wife (Laura Flynn Boyle), and starts to leave town. Problems arise and he returns to town in time to witness the real hit man (Dennis Hopper) arrive. Things go downhill for the Cage character after that.

This is an excellent, convoluted, well-acted and offbeat mystery. Funny, too. Cage never knows what's happening, but everybody else assumes he does. Dennis Hopper again plays a charming semi-psycho but he hadn't patented the style yet so it seems fresh. J. T. Walsh was a great character actor who died young. He's outstanding as the bar owner...who also happens to be the sheriff. He has one or two other secrets as well. And if Boyle doesn't rev your engine, you may need a tune up. She's more ruthless than the lot of them.

The DVD transfer is clean and clear.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 March 2013
Red Rock West is directed by John Dahl who also co-wrote the screenplay with his brother Rick. It stars Nicolas Cage, Dennis Hopper, Lara Flynn Boyle, J. T. Walsh and Timothy Carhart. Music is by William Olvis and cinematography by Marc Reshovsky.

When a promised job in Wyoming fails to materialise on account of an injury sustained in combat, Michael Williams (Cage) drifts into the town of Red Rock and is mistaken in a bar for a hitman hired to kill an unfaithful wife. Tempted by the high cash on offer, Michael plays along and promptly finds himself in a web of intrigue from which escape is looking unlikely...

Welcome To Red Rock/You Are Now Leaving Red Rock.

The studio didn't know what to do with it, a neo-noir flavoured with contemporary Western spices. Put out on cable in America and thriving on its limited release in Europe, it started to gain a cult fan-base. More so after a theatre in the Frisco Bay area started showing it and it made considerable coinage. Today it still remains more of a cult piece than anything else, which while it deserves more accolades and exposure, is still kind of nice for the fans, because it's like we have our own little neo-noir treasure all to ourselves.

Red Rock West is essential for the neo-noir heads and well worthy of inspection by the average modern day crime film fan. Plot wise it's a bit, shall we say iffy? Yet the twists, turns and characterisations are so deftly constructed and performed, it matters not a jot. Cage's ex-marine is an honest and decent guy who whilst down on his luck - punished for his honesty - finds himself in a vortex of mystery and murder that he can't escape from. His companions in this scenario are film noir staples, the femme fatale (Boyle) with a smoulder as big as her secret, the hit-man (Hopper) with a glint in his eye to accompany his callous leanings, and the shifty bar owner (Walsh) trying to off his wife whilst keeping his shady cards close to his chest.

As the tricksy plot unfolds in a haze of bad judgements and untruths, further pulsed by the vagaries of fate, it becomes apparent that Dahl wants us to know it isn't taking itself too seriously. There's a glorious scent of dark humour hanging in the air, an unpretentiousness about the whole thing that's refreshing. The look and feel is perfect for the narrative, the colour is stripped back to create a moody atmospheric surround, while the score and sound-tracking immediately brings to mind country and western tales of woe. Dahl knows his noir onions, but this is not just a homage hat tipper to the past, he understands what works in noir, be it the blending of the quirky with the edgy, or scene setting in locales such as a colourless bar and a foggy cemetery, Dahl gets the key ingredients right to deliver the goods wholesale.

The small cast come up trumps. Boyle as Suzanne Brown is weak if her femme fatale is pitted against the likes of Matty Walker or Bridget Gregory, but it's an adequate performance that doesn't hinder the picture. She is helped enormously, though, by having to share most scenes with Cage who brings his "A" game. Consistently inconsistent throughout his career, Cage, when on form is a joy to watch, here he gets to thrive as a put upon hero, shifting seamlessly between confusion and boldness, where incredulous looks are the order of the day with a side order of eccentric intensity. Hopper does what he does so well, amusing villainy, while Walsh is effortlessly menacing and suspicious. In small secondary support Carhart and country star Dwight Yoakam leave favourable impressions.

This is not an edge of your seat thriller, or a cranium bothering piece of dramedy, it's neo-noir done right. Where morality is grey at best and money is the root of all evil, it's slick, playful, cold blooded and absorbing. Hooray! 9/10
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on 22 December 2007
This is one of my favourite movies ever. Nick Cage has the classic talk and demeanour of James Dean or an early Marlon Brando as he swaggers silently into a bar in the desert and finds himself in the middle of the most incredible plot and cast of characters.

This movie has such a rich and thoughtful plot that it is a wonder to me why it never made it into the Hollywood hall of fame. The story will be spoiled if i was to expand on what happens in the movie, but the twists and turns keep you hooked until the very end, always guessing. In classic 50's style, Red Rock west has an enticing feel of the expanse of America and the lure of opportunity. Itinerant Wanderer Nick Cage finds himself at the mercy of strangers in Smalltown U.S.A all playing a game of hidden identity, corruption and greed. Cage finds himself trapped and just wanting to get out alive. He has opened a Pandora's box of intrigue and faces the consequences of someone else's making. This is a true hidden gem and the excellent writing alone make this a rarely credited modern classic.
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on 17 February 2010
Black humour - very funny and gripping too. Like a Coen Bros film. HMV had me on a waiting list for this for a year (I thought it was a new film but then discovered it was a 1993 film when I googled it) and I discovered Oxfam's online site which is brilliant - buy donated dvds and videos, mine was brand new!, at really low prices and donate to the charity at the same time! Definitely a film with a difference - I've been wanting to buy it for years!
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on 2 December 2002
Nicolas Cage is at his best in this film, not just because he can do one arm press-ups better than I can! A film that starts as film noir, looks like western and then grows through other genre, keeps the viewer interested throughout. How can one man have so much bad luck yet still be such a nice guy? The battle of binary opposites with Cage as the good guy and Hopper as the bad echoes traditional western style movies... yet the class of this one is the attention to detail. Throughout, the viewer is asked to think, being given signifiers along the way to try (but rarely succeed) in predicting what might happen next. Like the best film noir (yet shot in colour) loopholes and other unexpected turns occur, keeping the viewer pinned to the screen. The four central characters present fascinating people to watch, and their collective interactive chemistry is the strength of this film. Add to this the slick, beautiful cinematography and haunting soundtrack, and this is a film to delight any cultured film fan. Certainly one of the best films of 1992.
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on 26 November 2014
When a promised job for Michael fails to materialise in Wyoming, Mike is mistaken by Wayne, the town Sheriff, to be the hit-man he hired to kill his unfaithful wife, Suzanne.

Mike takes full advantage of the situation, collects the money and runs.

During his getaway, things go wrong, and soon get worse when he runs into the real hit-man, who happens to be Dennis Hopper....

Red Rock West is one of Dahl's more overlooked movies, but it's certainly one of the best, and in my opinion, it's a more satisfying experience than 'The Last Seduction'.

But it's probably because I saw it a long time after its release, and it has two great performances from the late Hopper and Walsh, both of whom never failed to disappoint, but most of all, its so good to see Cage put in a great performance, because as we all know, he's not been too picky with his choice of roles lately.

The story is great, the narrative handles the twists cleverly, and it has that classy feel to it, a thriller you can really get your teeth into, and even though you know that Cage will come good, the film has so many surprises, you can forgive the predictability.

Well worth watching.
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