What You Need To Know:
(H, LLL, VV, SS, A/D) Humanism; 30 obscenities & 10 profanities; two deaths by shooting, one by knife & man impaled on graveyard statue; adultery both implied & vividly depicted; and, drinking & smoking throughout.
RED ROCK WEST is a slick and diverting crime thriller which is currently wandering through a theater or two before showing up in video stores. Michael (Nicolas Cage) is a Marine vet who drives 1,000 miles to get an oil rig job promised by a buddy in Red Rock, Wyoming. Arriving in Red Rock, Michael is mistaken by a local bar owner to be someone else coming to “do a job”–namely killing the bar owner’s wife, Suzanne. He receives $5,000 from the man and goes to Suzanne’s house, where she pays him $10,000 to kill her husband. Michael takes the money and leaves town, but because of an accident he heads back to Red Rock. The bar owner, Wayne, turns out to be the sheriff who tries to capture Michael. From here, the story zigzags in and out of Red Rock, as Michael plays a cat and mouse game in his attempt to escape both Wayne and the real assassin, the psychopathic Lyle (Dennis Hopper).
RED ROCK WEST is expertly acted and directed and could have served as an intense cautionary tale about the risks of dishonesty (not to mention sexual immorality). However, much of the point is lost amidst intense sprays of foul language, a brief but vivid scene of adultery, and an escalating level of violence in the final sequence. This is all too much to endure in exchange for a few depictions of one character’s refreshing honesty.