Red Rock West
Some people have a special knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Michael (Nicolas Cage) drifts into Red Rock, Wyoming, down-on-his-luck and desperate for work. He drove up from Texas for a job on an oil rig, but he's too honest to lie about the knee injury he sustained as a Marine in the Lebanon barracks bombing and is sent packing. Just when hope seems most dim, he takes a seat at the Red Rock tavern, and his luck takes a steep dive downward. To give away any more than the set-up to co-writer/director John Dahl's riveting desert noir thriller would be cruel, but it is fair to say Red Rock West is the very best of its genre, alongside Joel and Ethan Coen's Blood Simple, with sharp turns by Cage, J.T. Walsh, and Dennis Hopper, and a script so tight and tough it's hard to believe it made it through production in one piece. It almost didn't matter: Dahl's film was released straight to video, where it was destined to languish as another well-cast B-movie before a San Francisco theater owner brought it to the big screen and began packing the house. After a theatrical run, it has returned to home video, in 1.85:1 widescreen, 2.0 Dolby Surround, and with an audio commentary by Dahl and his producer/co-writer (and brother) Rick Dahl.