Directed by: Roger Donaldson
Actors: Willem Dafoe, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Mickey Rourke, Samuel L. Jackson, M. Emmet Walsh, James Rebhorn, Maura Tierney, Beth Grant, Alexander Nicksay
Also known as: Белые пески, Tracce nella sabbia, Der große Deal, Arenas blancas, Sables mortels
Description: Willem Dafoe plays Sheriff Ray Dolezal, a small-town lawman in big-time trouble. To untangle a mystery, he assumes the identity of a murdered FBI agent and goes undercover inside a global crime ring. This precarious new life steers him toward a sinister weapons runner (Mickey Rourke), an FBI sting operative (Sam Jackson) and a mysterious woman of means (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio).
A wonderfully subdued and suspenseful film about a police deputy who takes on the identity of an apparent suicide victim, ostensibly to locate the victim’s “killer.” Of course, in the process he gets more than he bargained for–or did he? Perhaps he was seeking an exciting and intriguing diversion from boredom all along.
The story stretches the limits of believability throughout, yet this is easy to forgive and forget in light of magnificent performances by Willem Dafoe, Mickey Rourke and others, which draw you deep enough into the action that you’ll soon forget none of this could ever happen. Rourke is the definition of “cool” as Gorman Lennox, a sleazy yet charismatic arms dealer. But it is Dafoe who turns in the best performance as an ordinary man who is compelled to put himself into an extraordinarily dangerous situation for reasons even he probably doesn’t quite understand. I was thoroughly entertained just watching Dafoe’s reaction every time circumstances threatened to blow his cover. All told, Deputy Ray Dolezal (Dafoe) is one of the most genuinely likeable characters I’ve seen on film.
With a clever script, plenty of plot twists, outstanding performances and marvelous desert cinematography, White Sands is definitely a film worth watching.
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