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Two Americans, with their young daughter Trina, live in the northern Mexican desert, searching for family diamonds lost years before. Jump ahead, Trina's parents are mysteriously dead, and Trina, now grown, continues the search against the advice of Frank, an old family friend. Two gringo convicts, recently escaped from the Matamoros prison and headed for Texas, stumble upon the diamonds then find Trina and ask her for a ride. She realizes they've found the diamonds, keeps that from them, and tries to spirit the diamonds away. Various alliances form and break, one of the convicts tries to convince her to abandon her quest, and Frank watches from a distance. Written by
Minnie Driver plays a woman looking for diamonds lost by her ancestors out in the desert, when she stumbles upon two criminals (Spader and Brolin) who have miraculously stumbled upon the diamonds on accident, and who quickly take her captive. Driver has to figure out how to get the diamonds to herself and try to ditch her captors, while a mysterious old friend, Stuart Wilson, watches the events unfold from a distance and narrates Driver's past.
Minnie Driver makes an adequate lead, but it's James Spader who makes this movie. He plays a real goon; a rat-like voice and the only one with a gun. He gets increasingly desperate to escape his purgatory in the middle of nowhere and make the diamonds his. His mentally slow but good-hearted partner in crime, Brolin, and the antics of Driver lead his character. A great performance that kept me hooked, despite reading the other reviews.
Great cinematography to this movie. It's all shot in the desert, and the dry heat is beautifully captured. Ditto for the costumes. Spader and Brolin's bumbling conmen aren't used to the weather, and their faces are chapped and blistered in startlingly realistic fashion.
The movie's biggest problem is Stuart Wilson's bizarre, almost random narration. His character isn't very well set up in the beginning and you spend most of the movie trying to figure out his relevance to the story. It's purpose is a way to wrap up the loose ends, but I would have liked the film more if it had just abandoned the explanation of the past and made instead a character study of this trio.
Overall, I recommend it.
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