The nature of temptation. Banks is a hit man, the best, usually working for Latin American drug cartels. He picks up solitary women, uses them briefly for a job, then kills them. He's in ...
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Two brothers, One is a bull rider, the other a rodeo bullfighter/stock contractor, clash over the love of barrel racer Celia Jones, while each comes into their own in their respective field in the rodeo world.
The nature of temptation. Banks is a hit man, the best, usually working for Latin American drug cartels. He picks up solitary women, uses them briefly for a job, then kills them. He's in the Southwest, headed toward Mexico, when he picks up Bennie, a woman leaving an abusive marriage, going to Paradise, Arizona. The film follows three tracks: Banks's slow recruitment of Bennie, the set-up for the hit at a swank resort in Mexico, and the FBI's close pursuit of Banks, whom they want alive in hopes he'll rat out his bosses. Bennie may not be who she seems, and there may be a chink in Banks's tough-guy armor. Guns, money, and a chance at Paradise... Written by
Richard Greenberg, the director of "Desert Saints", has been involved with a lot of movies as an assistant director. It's clear he has learned his craft well. This film, which he co-wrote with Waley Nichols, came as a total surprise, not having seen it before.
If you haven't seen the film, please stop reading here.
Arthur Banks is a hired killer. Arthur is an educated man, who has gone to the other side of the law because he is an impeccable man as far as doing his job well for a lot of money. Don't double cross him though, because he will take care of anyone that dares to do so in a cool and detached manner, as we see him do as the film opens.
When he meets Beenie, we wonder why is he taking a chance on the hitchhiking girl, or for that matter, what makes the girl go with this stranger, who might be a criminal on the loose. How naive can this woman be? Of course, this chance meeting is what is at the heart of the movie, as we shall see later on. In fact, Banks seems to have hand picked Beenie to mold her into his own plan.
In the meantime, we watch as FBI agents are following Banks' trail all over Arizona. They know he is heading south to Mexico, but what is he going to do there? Arthur Banks is planning to take down a Mexican political figure, but things change for him unexpectedly as he prepares to do his thing.
The last sequence is intriguing because it's something unexpected, as we watch how Beenie fools the people that want to talk to her. It appears that Beenie has a friend who has been working with her from within, but will Beenie be able to fool Arthur Banks? Well, your guess is as good as anyone's because the ambiguous ending the cunning director has given his story.
The film works because of Kiefer Sutherland's take on Arthur Banks. This actor always can be counted to deliver in anything he does. Besides his good looks, Mr. Sutherland projects an intelligence as he plays the character he is portraying on the screen, as proved by his many other films.
Melora Walters is also effective as Beenie, an enigmatic figure once we get to see her operate. Jamey Sheridan makes sense of his agent Scanlon, the man pursuing Banks through the desert. Leslie Stefanson's role shows a woman who might not be what she is supposed to be. Rachel Ticotin has a couple of good and hot scenes with Mr. Sutherland.
"Desert Saints" is a film that surprises because the direction by Richard Greenberg.
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