White Sands (1992)

Genres - Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Police Detective Film, Post-Noir (Modern Noir)  |   Release Date - Apr 24, 1992 (USA)  |   Run Time - 105 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Nick Sambides, Jr.

White Sands manages to choke down just about all that it bites off. It's a movie with a complex plot rendered with uniform ease by ace suspense director Roger Donaldson, who did great work with Kevin Costner on No Way Out and Thirteen Days. It turns former bad guy Willem Dafoe into a capably conventional leading man, and it features Mickey Rourke in what is for him a restrained performance. It does all that, and a good deal more, with a clever device: it has Dafoe assuming the identity of a dead man involved in sleazy arms dealings. With his shiny complexion and bad-guy past, Dafoe has the look of someone who could be doing dirty deeds, but he makes a curious choice. He plays his character, a sheriff, totally straight, with an amiability that totally breaks all the molds he set previously (he seems rather like Charlton Heston). It works, too, lending the movie an unreal tension in the early scenes. Later, a CIA subplot, some Rourke eccentricities, and a too-neat plot twist at the denouement make it seem as if Donaldson and writer Daniel Pyne are laying it on a bit thick, but that doesn't stop White Sands from being a fun ride.