Michel D. (michelann) from WALNUT GROVE, MO Reviewed on 5/23/2019...
Above average action packed thriller with top quality casting makes this movie qualify as an entertaining evening's watch! Made in 1992 the stars looked better than they do today but their talent is still there! Willem Dafoe, Mickey Rourke, Samuel L. Jackson, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio want to turn half a million into well over a million bucks with help from the "feds"... but who exactly are they dealing with here?
A diamond in the rough
darknessdreaming | 07/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Okay, the movie has Mickey Rourke in it, that doesn't automatically make it a bad film (though yes that usually isn't a good sign). Most of you may never have heard of this film before and that is a shame. Its unfortunate that the studio that released this film never took the time to watch it. It was released in the middle of the summer, most definitely wrong time of the year for such a film. The summer is for mindless action and laughs and unfortunately this flick just got lost in the mix.(I have nothing against mindless action and laughs.) This is a smart film with a very engaging plot, but you are required to actually pay attention. Not to give too much away but Defoe plays a small town cop who gets caught up rather large mess after the discovery of "suicide" victim out in the middle of nowhere. The acting is very well done in this film (even Rouke's). This is definitely one of the films that helped make Sam Jackson one of my favorites. If you like well done mystery/suspense flicks then this one is well worth your time."
Great cast, plot twists, amazing landscapes
Steve Arthur | Winslow, AZ USA | 07/21/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This film was generally overlooked upon release. Predating Lone Star and Thunderheart, this film has three amazing things going for it: (1) the cast is stellar. You get Dafoe, in a good guy role, M Emmett Walsh as a lazy coroner, Mary Elizabeth Mastronantino in an amazing lead role, Sam Jackson (how he's listed on the end credits) tearing up the scenery, Mickey Roarke in a GOOD performance, and even an uncredited thankless role. (2) the plot is much better than No Way Out. With Donaldson directing, you might think that it would just be a remake/remuddle, but the plot does keep twisting, and once you think you have it even remotely figured out, BANG something else happens. (3) the scenery is amazing. The only film that comes closer to capturing the feel of the New Mexican landscape is Backtrack, which is also very good. The widescreen adds (although it is fair to ask when it DOESN'T), so, if you were like me and didn't see this until it came out on VHS, you're in for a treat. Not all of it does work--you do keep waiting for Dafoe to become the creep he is in most of his films since Wild at Heart, or Roarke to make little sense, but like Angelheart, he is focused and amazing here, but it doesn't happen. Not a whole lot of extras here, unfortunately (maybe there's a director's edition somewhere with more of Mimi Rogers in it, but as it stands, this is a terrific movie. Four stars out of five."
Actually, a 4 1/2.
Jerry Fry | Freeman, MO USA | 10/11/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"You're a cop, you live in New Mexico. You get a call that there's been a dead body found in the desert near you, near some old Indian ruins. Next to his body is a briefcase, with half a million dollars inside. If your Defoe, (in this show) a cop, you want to find out where it came from. How can it be a suicide? Who would want to kill themselves while possessing a half million dollars? The more he investigates and finds out gets him in over his head. He takes on the identity of the deceased, this sheriff from New Mexico is smarter than he acts but much less experienced than he tries to appear. Mickey Rourke gets to be the bad guy in this one. Guess what? He's a CIA agent. He's on whoever's side they pay him to be on. This is enough. The rest I'll leave to your imagination. I should mention that Samuel Jackson is also in this show. He's an FBI agent. It's not really sand, it's gypsum."
Highly underrated classic whodunit
Steve Arthur | 05/04/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A dead body, a rodeo, a schmoozy exclusive fundraiser and a nosy cop who gets into the middle of it all make for a nailbiting rollercoaster ride of a movie. Willem Dafoe, Samuel L. Jackson, & Mickey Rourke are at their best in this great story. A fantastic supporting cast is also featured. The eerie, haunting music of Patrick O'Hearn (from his "Indigo" album) provide the perfect soundtrack for this humdinger of a mystery. You never know who will do what, so hang on and enjoy the ride."
Amazing. That's all...just amazing.
Mike | San Jose, CA | 01/18/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Writing a review for "White Sands" is a true challenge, because based on cinematography and Patrick O'Hearn's soundtrack, this is an unquestionable 5 out of 5 stars film.
We know that eye candy and surface-level attributes don't tell the whole story. Is this still a 5-star film, based on the whole package? I believe that it is. For others, it might be "4" or "3" but this has remained a "go-to" movie for me since its release. When I want to watch something GOOD...really, really GOOD...and don't know what I'm in the mood for, "White Sands" consistently comes up on my short list.
In terms of the actors, Samuel L. Jackson, at this point of his career, is "embryonic." Willem Dafoe, as Deputy Sheriff Ray Dolezal, holds his own. You might need to enlist a degree of "suspension of disbelief" when the radiant Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio falls in love with Sheriff Ray, but hey..."suspension of disbelief" is often a prerequisite for this kind of film.
Character actor M. Emmet Walsh is a welcome addition as county coroner Bert Gibson.
Mickey Rourke as the "bad guy?" HEY! What part of "Mickey Rourke as the bad guy" did you miss?
Maura Tierney of "E.R." fame turns in an "anybody could have played this part" performance as Noreen. Sorry, Maura, but I calls 'em the way that I sees 'em.
You also get to see 2008 GOP Presidential candidate Fred Thompson as an arms dealer. FRED!
It is not the individual parts of this movie that make it a monster. It is a sum of the parts. The New Mexico locations will pull you in and seduce you, hold you captive, propel you through a storyline that is at times ludicrous and at other times thrilling. I GUARANTEE that if you make it through the first fifteen minutes of this film, you're not going ANYWHERE until the closing credits.
I've watched this film at least 100 times and will probably watch it 100 more...and then another 100 after that. A favorite, a masterpiece, my highest possible recommendation."