(1993)4Jason ClarkOne of the best neo-noirs of the 1990s, Red Rock West -- though razor-sharp and cast to perfection -- cannot fully escape its familiarity in a genre that had by this point been done to death. But thanks to taut and absorbing direction, the film offers much entertainment value to viewers who are willing to let it take them on its strange but irresistible journey. Nicolas Cage is sympathetic and well cast in the lead role, and Dennis Hopper creates yet another of his indelible onscreen weirdos, imbuing the characterization with his standard intensity. The movie gets the booze-soaked, dusty-outback feel just right, and though it's hardly the most endearing picture ever made, it is a notable throwback to films of the 1970s that managed to be clever and calculated without the smarmy pretension of today's imitators. Like John Dahl's even better 1994 follow-up The Last Seduction, Red Rock West premiered on cable, building up a considerable following that led to its successful release in arthouses all over the country, where many audiences discovered it for the first time.