An elegiac deceptive modern film noir with a rather wistful tone and charismatic performances by a brilliant cast .
A midwest cop finds the corpse of a dead FBI agent with half a million bucks in the desert and decides to assume his identity in an attempt to solve the mystery of the murder ,which extends to the highest echelons of FBI .
The trail leads him to crooked FBI agents ,corrupt arm dealers selling US military hardware on the black-market and a mysterious beautiful rich woman ,who is sitting on the fence .
The happily married cop is played in a TONED down ,carefully observed natural act by Willem Dafoe ,while the charismatic ,corrupt and ruefully ECCENTRIC gangster is a very convincing Mickery Rourke ,and Samuel Jackson is cast against type as a crooked FBI agent ,AND together they weave a web of wicked intrigue on silver screen in the white sands of the south -west .
Yet they are all overshadowed by a nuanced and passionately provocative but seductive performance by the mega rich bored femme fatale character played by mary Elizabeth Mastrontonio , who is hovering on the edge of right and wrong because there is no other choice ,with her own peculiar sets of morality and surreal principles.
The characters are drawn with extreme caution to make them totally unsentimental yet contemporary without being stereotypes and the plot unravels with a terrific climax and a convincing denouement .
The similarity to the plot of NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is not coincidental and yet this script is gifted with dialogues and events which are worthy of an applause compared to that flawed fantasy .
Dafoe and Mastrontonio have a haunting chemistry which makes them intensely watchable despite the convoluted plot and the romance is played subtly with a sensitive streak that leaves you caring for both the leads and the movie itself .
Set in the white sands of the american west ,the desert here is a bright metaphor for the corruption AND immorality of the men in control of the administration ,where fatal hardware arms are sold in chic social events posing as charity events ,amongst the ultra-chic and for kicks on the black-market for huge commissions .
A very honest look at contemporary culture of political corruption and corporate greed balanced by individual morality in an immoral era .Kudos to the script director and the actors for CREATING AN INGENIOUS aND convincing MODERN film noir for a change .