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29 Palms
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29 Palms More at IMDbPro »

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

a tin foil star

Author: davey jones (phnxdown) from United States
27 January 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

the friend i first watched this with hated the movie when he rented it. of course, this friend also bought XXX, having not ever seen it. so i guess that speaks for that.


the script is phenomenal. i really enjoyed the touches of humor, especially since they were so off the wall most of the time. i get a kick out of the chief trying to talk like a movie Indian. the whole bit with the guy not being able to "sire" is insanely funny, and i love it when he pretends to die with the other patient's heart monitor. any of the scenes with the sheriff are great. my favorite punchline of the movie is: "son, you don't need a lawyer, you need a library card." but how about that chase sequence at the end? a limo trying to ram a bus? now that's just absolutely hilarious.

otherwise, i like how this is a post-post-western. it's still got guns and a sheriff and bad guys going after money and indians. and even though the drifter says it's really about trying to find someone you can trust, i know better. it's really about our country screwing the indians, all over again. the chief's final bit about white people taking their land, and then giving them whiskey, and then pitying them as drunks, and then giving them gambling, and then making them beg for their money... well... it's a bit preachy... but then all westerns (and post-westerns and post-post-westerns) are supposed to be about the dying frontier. the frontier is dead, but the Indian has cancer. i think the opening shot of the pro-Indian-casino billboard and the interpretive shot of the chief's rage (as he's running at the camera, towards the bus) towards the end of the film perfectly underscore this tribute to the dying survivors of the frontier.

in addition, i thought the camera work was well done. although the director recycled his few obvious uses of technique, namely the flashback montages and the 360-degree pan shots, i thought they were decently spaced and efficient. i also really appreciated the tastefulness that was used in filming the sex scene. panning away, and letting the imagination do the work is what really makes an intimate scene sexy. lubitsch knew that, and apparently so does ricagni.

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9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Decent moments, but overall uninteresting!

Author: the amorphousmachine from Australia
28 October 2002

A richly photographed ensemble piece about several characters attempts of obtain a bag of money. Nothing deep, just a quirky and sometimes funny film that uses coincidences similar to the 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrell's' motif. It never quite works as a hilarious caper film, and neither does the viewer enable any feeling for the main protagonist in the Drifter played by Jeremy Davies.

'29 Palms' does have it's moments though particular during the scenes with Michael Rappaport as the nasty cop, who has some of the funniest lines. Joe Polito does a decent job, but his character is overly annoying and fairly stupid. Bill Pullman is a welcome edition, but again, short-lived and not really given an essential character to play. Chris O'Donnell makes an interesting, if not decent, hit-man character. None of the characters are really developed except Jeremy Davies one, and Rachel Leigh Cook's character. '29 Palms' would have got a far better score if it was more entertaining and less reliant on coincidences as plot-devices which has been done before. I did like some of the flashback moments and interactions but the main reasoning to also partially dislike this film is because it should have had a better ending. The ending was just plain weak, and the only redeeming factor from it was the very last line, but the entire sequence itself was stupid and nonsensical. I could hardly recommend this film, as it became tiresome and irritating, though it certainly had it's moments to give it an average score. **1/2 out of *****!

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Six Degrees of Devil's Casino

Author: Marie (Utoepeea) from Los Angeles, CA
18 November 2006

I cannot exactly say that I hated it, nor can I say I loved it. I can see how some people think it is a complete mess, but as you watch it, it does sort of come together at the end. There seems to be a lot of holes in the plot. Somethings never really get answered, and if that is what the director and/or writer was going for, then they did their job. I found the individual performances pretty interesting, but as a whole they seemed all over the place. I kind of felt like the film should have been called Six Degrees of Devil's Casino.

If you have an extra hour and thirty-three minutes to spare, it might be worth it to expand your movie selection and just check it out. I mean I have watched a lot of B rated films and I cannot say it was any worse than those. I agree with a lot of the people on here when they say the shots on location are actually what makes this film worth while. Since most of it is shot in the dessert, it makes for an interesting look.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

No way you can write a Spoiler for this Film!!

Author: gvit-2 from Germany
7 April 2006

It's a big sloppy mess, but it's not half as bad as some comments would leave you to believe. The story goes all over the place, but the story is just a thread. There's a lot of Coen Brothers and a bit of David Lynch in this film. Wonderfully weird and unlikeable characters, nicely composed, sparse scenes nicely photographed and the humor is not of the joke/punch line school, which is probably why there are many disappointed comments. The budget for this film could not be called shoestring, it's more like twine. Still, despite the disassociated story - I mean, who has the money really doesn't matter, it's just getting us from point A to point B - it's quite an accomplishment. Some people like their films to be obvious stories that are easy on the eyes, this is a more subtle form of entertainment with a garish touch.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Not the worst thing i have ever seen

Author: Lisa Nonog from Seattle, Wa
10 January 2004

the only reason i rented this movie was because of the title. It was interesting to me since i used to live in the city of 29 palms.

This movie felt like it was a quentin tarantino story, with oliver stone style direction. somewhat similar to Stones "U-Turn" just less complicated, and a less talented cast. Instead of Nick Nolte, Sean Penn, Billy Bob Thornton, and Jennifer Lopez. Its Chris O'Donnell, Rachael Leigh Cook, Jeremy Davies, and Michael Rapaport. Still pretty big names, just not good enough.

The direction wasnt horrible, and the editing was actually pretty good. it felt like it was the directors first attempt at this style of film making. the film held my attention all the up till the last five minutes. then i fell asleep. but i got the just of it. i look forward to future films by Leonardo Ricagni.

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

way too contrived...

Author: chris (chrissage) from brazil
13 February 2004

a kind of numb curiosity kept me watching till the end. there was some truly appalling acting, one or two funny moments, ludicrous shoot-out sequences, annoying repeating flashbacks and a lead character with the personality of a three toed sloth (only less interesting)

there is a vague nod to Tarantino here and Lynch there but overall the plot is just way too contrived for it's own good. coincidence as the driver very quickly gets old.

the burning question in my mind, apart from the obvious 'who put up the money for this?' a place with so little charm, once each person got their hands on the bag, why didn't they just get the hell out of Dodge?

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Hugely disappointing

Author: purdypurdypurdy from Outer Space
23 November 2005

Extremely disappointing story, completely lacking originality and creative flair.

Wasted cast, no development, too much reliance on coincidence, not funny, not interesting to look at... put you off yet? Story is the old hackneyed idea of a misplaced bag of money. Seen it done before? Probably. Each introduced character wants to get their hands on the stash of cash and we're given Jeremy Davies' character to cheer on, and others to jeer on.

What follows lacks any freshness or interest, which is really disappointing. Probably what could've saved this, if anything, would be a dash of Coen perspective and dark humour. A sudden attempt at inventive editing in the last twenty minutes does little to pick up the pace (if you're still awake) and even a turn by Bill Pullman can't do much to save it. Rachel Leigh Cook is pretty, though...

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Interesting idea marred by amateurish production

Author: senortuffy from Glen Ellen, CA
7 October 2003

The central plot of this film is promising - an enigmatic drifter finds a bag of money and has the foresight to realize people are after it, so he places several decoy bags out there to confuse everyone while keeping the money for himself.

In the hands of a director with more experience, this might have been a pretty good movie. It's still entertaining but there are moments that make you cringe.

Jeremy Davies (the mumbling astronaut in "Solaris") is the drifter. Chris O'Donnell is the hitman trying to recover his money, which coincidentally, was to be his fee for killing the drifter, who was mistaken for an FBI informant. Now there's a laugh, Jeremy Davies as an FBI agent.

Veteran Coen Brothers bit player, Joe Polito, plays a security guard after the money. Under good direction, he's a pretty decent actor, but here he looks like someone's brother-in-law who stumbled into a movie role.

Not a bad first time effort by the writer and director. They tried a bit too hard to copy other people (the Coen Brothers most notably) by assembling a quirky cast and making a film that combines suspense and humor. You could do worse on a slow weekday night than to rent this one.

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10 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

I am Embarrassed to Have Watched It

Author: Gary Murphy ( from Olathe, KS, USA
23 September 2004

I watched this movie the way some people watch a traffic accident. You can't believe your mind can assimilate such an awful visual image, but something in your macabre inner self can not stop watching the carnage. Yes, I watched this to the end.

Usually movies have some redeeming value. Maybe it's the soundtrack or the costumes, you know, something. Well, not this one. The acting was horrible. I like Chris O'Donnell and Michael Rapaport, but they completely fail to execute their craft successfully on this flick. Rachel Leigh Cook does an OK job, but nothing that moves beyond mediocre. That takes us to direction. Nobody ever heard of Leonardo Ricagni and I suspect no one ever will. There was some weak attempt to be Tarantino, but, WOW, was it not even close.

The editing was more annoying than your neighbor's home movie. There were jumps in the scene, with the same segment repeated from different camera angles with a voice-over. Huh? Didn't these guys figure out that was a bad idea when they were a sophomore in film school.

There were several times the same flashback was repeated. It got quite annoying. What was the point of that?

The only way they could have made a worse movie was to have cast Jennifer Tilly as a blind African-American. Wait a minute, I have an idea...

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style without substance

Author: SnoopyStyle
8 March 2015

A corrupt judge (Michael Lerner) is about to rule on an expansion to a neighboring Indian casino. He tells the Chief (Russell Means) that the FBI has put an undercover agent (Jeremy Davies) in his staff. The man witnesses a group of Indians killing his beloved. The Chief hires the Hit-man (Chris O'Donnell) to kill him. They pay the Hit-man with a bag of cash but he's robbed by a casino Security Guard (Jon Polito) who in turn is robbed by the Cop (Michael Rapaport) who then leaves the bag with the Ticket Clerk (Bill Pullman) for 29 Palms. The bag is then mistakenly taken by the guy originally slated to be killed who picks up the Waitress (Rachael Leigh Cook) stranded when her car broke down.

It's interesting to follow the bag at the beginning. It has a silly ridiculousness about it. It stops being interesting after awhile. I wonder if director Leonardo Ricagni is trying to copy the Coen brothers or something like that. It becomes a boring mess. Chris O'Donnell is not nearly scary enough as a hit-man. Rapaport is a good weasel but none of the characters are particularly compelling. The movie wants it so bad but just doesn't have it.

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