“This Movie Comes On Like A Tweeker's Dream; Photographed And Shattered, Then Swept Under The Door In A Spoom Of Dust Only To Be Injected Into Your Veins Like The Bad Drug That It Is. ”
What we see in The Salton Sea, meanwhile, is a twisty, showy, atmosphere-saturated drama that revels (in a post-post-Tarantino- and-Trainspotting way) in sadism and in-your-face seediness -- and attracts a cast of coolios primed to play extreme.
- Entertainment Weekly
The movie's accumulated force still feels like an ugly knot tightening in your stomach. But is that knot from dramatic tension or a symptom of artistic malnutrition?
Stephen Holden - New York Times
Lovable absurdity is the saving grace of a drug movie, and on the rare occasion that this genre works, the head trip winds up being a worthwhile journey.
Hank Stuever - Washington Post
Too slick and manufactured to claim street credibility.
Desson Thomson - Washington Post
If there's no art here, it's still a good yarn -- which is nothing to sneeze at these days.
Sam Allis - Boston Globe
Eccentric enough to stave off doldrums, Caruso's self-conscious debut is also eminently forgettable.
Michael Atkinson - Village Voice
Repellent yet intriguing, brutal yet funny, wicked yet strangely compassionate, The Salton Sea is more about mixing genres and styles than illuminating a credible reality.
Bruce Westbrook - Houston Chronicle
By and large this is Mr. Kilmer's movie, and it's his strongest performance since The Doors.
Gary Dowell - Dallas Morning News
For what it is, it's well-done -- a stylized-beyond-reality derivation of Natural Born Killers, perhaps. Or a more gonzo version of Go or Blow. But the heart has been stylized out of it.
Steven Rosen - Denver Post
I liked it because it was so endlessly, grotesquely, inventive.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
Sacrificing content for style, Caruso gives us a lot to look at but little to ponder.
Robert K. Elder - Chicago Tribune
Director D. J. Caruso brings a visual flair to the proceedings, and Tony Gayton ... shows a deft appreciation of the genre, as The Salton Sea twists, turns and twists again.
Steven Rea - Philadelphia Inquirer
Robert Koehler - Variety
Confused and confusing contemporary noir.
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
If you are into splatter movies, then you will probably have a reasonably good time with The Salton Sea.
Ray Conlogue - Globe and Mail
There isn't a single original or involving moment in The Salton Sea.
Charles Taylor - Salon.com
A thriller with an edge -- which is to say that it doesn't follow the stale, standard, connect-the-dots storyline which has become commonplace in movies that explore the seamy underbelly of the criminal world.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
A quirky little crime thriller with considerable style and energy to burn.
Michael Rechtshaffen - Hollywood Reporter
[D'Onofrio is] the fire in the belly of this cool groove of a movie.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
It's difficult to convey how pleased with itself this film is to be inside what it presents as the daring, fascinating world of 'tweakers.'
Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times
The overall voyage on The Salton Sea is an uneasy one hampered by a confusing story that admits out loud it doesn't know where it's going.
Ryan Cracknell - Movie Views
- Film Threat
- Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Stefan Birgir Stefansson - sbs.is
Com boas atuacoes de Kilmer e D'Onofrio, o filme tem um roteiro razoavel, mas sem foco. Salva-se gracas ao interessante personagem principal.
Pablo Villaca - Cinema em Cena
Marked by an ambitious style and solid performances, but hampered by a story that buries its primary focus until late in the game.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
- Empire Magazine
Is authenticity too much to ask? It's not as if the various drug subcultures don't have enough humor and tragedy built in that you need to take a detour into Fantasyland.
Patrick Starkey - Film Threat
Derek Smith - Apollo Guide
It's a sort of rollercoaster ride through the salvaged wreckage of a hundred similar movies.
Michael W. Phillips, Jr. - Goatdog's Movies
Lo lamento, pero este mar no me atrapo como para creerle mucho. Una cinta mas, regular y nunca tan buena como el director quiere hacerla parecer, presuntuosa y pasajera...
Alex Ramirez - Cinenganos
The result is mesmerizing -- filled with menace and squalor.
Mark Halverson - Sacramento News & Review
...[Vincent D'Onofrio's] almost insanely entertaining performance essentially takes the film to an entirely different level...
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
There's something fundamental missing from this story: something or someone to care about.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
While it's all happening, it's entertaining enough, but when it's finished (in a disappointingly conventional manner), it doesn't seem to have been about very much.
John J. Puccio - DVDTown.com
John J. Puccio - Movie Metropolis
It turns out to be just another inane druggie thriller with a revenge plot.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
- Deseret News, Salt Lake City
By getting myself wrapped up in the visuals and eccentricities of many of the characters, I found myself confused when it came time to get to the heart of the movie.
Ryan Cracknell - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Overall, this examination of manufactured corruption set against a film noirish swagger may not have the in-depth impact like contemporaries L.A. Confidential or Memento, but this Sea is certainly worth swimming in
Frank Ochieng - Movie Eye
Even with a green Mohawk and a sheet of fire-red flame tattoos covering his shoulder, however, Kilmer seems to be posing, rather than acting. And that leaves a hole in the center of The Salton Sea.
Marshall Fine - Journal News (Westchester, NY)
- Boston Phoenix
A rough, but very cool and stylish film with great performances...
Paul Salfen - Supercala.com
A solid piece of dirty work.
Marc Savlov - Austin Chronicle
If you're wanting something nasty that may make you feel like you need a shower afterwards, then check this out. It's solid.
John Venable - Supercala.com
It has the ability to offend and put off everyone, but it holds you with its outrageousness.
Joe Baltake - Sacramento Bee
Aside from a few striking similarities, "The Salton Sea" maintains its own identity. Its structure may not be as tricky as "Memento's," but "Salton Sea" reveals its own surprises with fewer attention-grabbing devices.
Jeffrey Westhoff - Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)
Don't judge this one too soon - it's a dark, gritty story but it takes off in totally unexpected directions and keeps on going.
Cherryl Dawson and Leigh Ann Palone - TheMovieChicks.com
The script, like the character Danny, is complex and needs your attention...
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews
Starts out ballsy and stylish but fails to keep it up and settles into cliches.
Kevin N. Laforest - Montreal Film Journal
A neo-noir thriller as compelling as it is repugnant, it holds images and themes of such haunting power that you're willing to overlook the unpleasant stench surrounding it.
Rob Vaux - Flipside Movie Emporium
David Elliott - San Diego Union-Tribune
Certainly not a film for everyone, the film's good points outweigh and outnumber the bad ones.
Jim Judy - Screen It!
An empty, ugly exercise in druggy trance-noir and trumped-up street credibility.
Tom Keogh - Seattle Times
Fans of the off-beat, your movie has arrived.
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
Even if it made its original release date last fall, it would've reeked of a been-there, done-that sameness.
Michael Dequina - TheMovieReport.com
The cumulative effect of the movie is repulsive and depressing.
William Arnold - Seattle Post-Intelligencer
It's not a bad movie, exactly, at least not all the time. It just looks like every artfully posed scumbag criminal movie of the previous decade.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
If you're looking for something different, The Salton Sea may well be your fix.
Bill Pearis - Citysearch
By the time you reach the finale, you're likely wondering why you've been watching all this strutting and posturing.
Cynthia Fuchs - PopMatters
Feature debuter D.J. Caruso directs a crack ensemble cast, bringing screenwriter Tony Gayton's narcotics noir to life.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
A special kind of movie, this melancholic film noir reminded me a lot of Memento...
JoBlo - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
A cool film starring Val Kilmer -- who woulda thunk it?
Kim Linekin - eye WEEKLY
In its scuzzy, bleary way it's perversely enjoyable--an instant classic among guilty pleasures.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
What the director can’t do is make either of Val Kilmer’s two personas interesting or worth caring about.
Steven D. Greydanus - Decent Films Guide
Emily Blunt - Blunt Review
Great supporting performances and a really good script.
Richard Roeper - Ebert & Roeper
An edgy, triple-twist neo-noir thriller with a brutally cynical sense of humor and an erotically charged atmosphere of danger.
Joe Leydon - San Francisco Examiner
The Salton Sea has moments of inspired humour, though every scrap is of the darkest variety.
Liz Braun - Jam! Movies
If you're determined to see this one, don't forget to bring a soapy washcloth.
Paul Tatara - CNN.com
The Salton Sea is such a hit-and-miss proposition, whether anything about it should matter much to us at all becomes the movie's most pertinent question.
Bob Strauss - Los Angeles Daily News
has a plot full of twists upon knots...and a nonstop parade of mock-Tarantino scuzbag types that starts out clever but veers into overkill.
Rob Blackwelder - SPLICEDWire
Is it a drug story, or a murder mystery? Is it a tale of revenge, or redemption? The Salton Sea takes a good while to find its sea legs, but once it's up and running, one cannot stop watching.
Staci Layne Wilson - Fantastica Daily
Tony Gayton's script doesn't give us anything we haven't seen before, but director D.J. Caruso's grimy visual veneer and Kilmer's absorbing performance increase the gravitational pull considerably.
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
No stranger to psychotic characters (The Cell, Full Metal Jacket), the Law & Order dude invigorates the screen as a dope dealer who finds amusement in the creepiest things, bringing badassness to new heights.
- E! Online
Kilmer delivers one of his finest performances in years as the tormented and brooding hero.
Max Messier - Filmcritic.com
As convoluted in its own way as Memento, and almost as sardonically funny.
Jan Stuart - Newsday
What makes Salton Sea surprisingly engrossing is that Caruso takes an atypically hypnotic approach to a world that's often handled in fast-edit, hopped-up fashion.
Mary Kalin-Casey - Reel.com
All the movie's narrative gymnastics can't disguise the fact that it's inauthentic at its core and that its story just isn't worth telling.
Mick LaSalle - San Francisco Chronicle
This flashy noir pastiche, which is so buzzed on its own hopped-up style that no one seems to have realized it's not half as clever or deep as it thinks, is still far more entertaining than its lugubrious opening would suggest.
Maitland McDonagh - TV Guide's Movie Guide
As a gallery of the grotesque ... the cinematic equivalent of a Joe Coleman painting or Adam Parfrey publication, The Salton Sea is a blast.
Luke Y. Thompson - New Times
Has all the scenic appeal of a cesspool.
Glenn Lovell - San Jose Mercury News
Susan Granger - www.susangranger.com
You find yourself unexpectedly drawn into the life of Danny Parker -- or whoever he is -- despite the fact that it's a thoroughly gloomy place to be.
Mary F. Pols - Contra Costa Times
Nearly manages to be what "Blow" couldn't - a perpetual night party that generates a sick fascination to the bitter end.
Jeanne Aufmuth - Palo Alto Weekly
Nicely combines the enigmatic features of 'Memento' with the hallucinatory drug culture of 'Requiem for a Dream.'
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
Something's missing from the center of this self-consciously hip film noir: a hero you can feel for.
Kevin Lally - Film Journal International
Director Caruso got energetic performances out of every member of the large and talented cast. It's too bad the result is absolutely awful.
Steve Rhodes - Internet Reviews
It's a sharp movie about otherwise dull subjects.
Tim Cogshell - Boxoffice Magazine
Caruso sometimes descends into sub-Tarantino cuteness ... but for the most part he makes sure The Salton Sea works the way a good noir should, keeping it tight and nasty.
Glenn Kenny - Premiere Magazine