White Sands

Year: 1992
Production Co: Morgan Creek Productions
Studio: Warner Bros
Director: Roger Donaldson
Producer: Scott Rudin
Writer: Daniel Pyne
Cast: Willem Dafoe, Mickey Rourke, Mary Elizabeth Mastrontonio, Samuel L Jackson, James Rebhorn, Miguel Sandoval

Roger Donaldson has been around long enough for his older movies to date badly. Just look at the neon tinged styling of Cocktail. White Sands is another film that stands up poorly with nothing about the costumes, dialogue, aesthetic or premise consciously rooted in the late 80s/early 90s but the film somehow anchored there forever.

The story's actually a little murky and hard to follow when it really takes off, but Willem Dafoe is a small town Sheriff on the edge of the Nevada desert who finds a body and suitcase with half a million in it.

When it seems the clue to the man's identity is on offer by the paper trial left behind, he decides to impersonate the guy in order to find out what's going on.

It leads him straight into a world bigger than he can handle of a small arms dealer (Rourke) who might or might not be the bad guy, a society princess (Mastrontonio) who provides the money for various schemes but for some reason isn't party to anything shady, and an apparently crooked federal agent (Jackson) hoping to set them all up.

The romance hots up with the heroine (even though he's married), the danger hots up with his increasingly unhinged partner, and the stakes are raised when the fed recruits him into the sting. Ironically the more interesting things get in each stream of the plot, the more bogged down and confusing the movie gets, and by the time you get to the end you'll be hard pressed to remember exactly what it all meant.

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