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After spending more seven years in prison, the criminal Tommy is released and his former partner Mick is waiting for him to take him home. Mick is an ex-convict that is straight now, working as a janitor in a porno shop and living in the decadent and filthy Golden Eagle hotel in Los Angeles. He tells Tommy that he has saved 2.5 thousand dollar and has bought two tickets to Las Vegas for them. Mick's intention is to find a job in a casino and begin a new life with his old friend in a nice place. The dirty Golden Eagle is a joint where prostitutes meet clients and losers and decadent people live. When Mick goes to work his last night in his job, Tommy brings the prostitute Amber to the room to have sex with her. Amber works with her friend Sally on the streets and their pimp is the strong Rodan that is luring the fifteen year-old runaway Loriann, promising that she will become a cinema actress. Tommy fails with Amber and she mocks him. Tommy gets angry and kills Amber. When Mick returns...Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
excellent gritty stuff. What indie film-making should be
I'm not a fan of Adam Rifkin's lighter, more commercial stuff ("The Chase", "Detroit Rock City") but I was blown away by "The Dark Backward", which is one of the darkest, most transgressive contemporary films I've seen and that made me seek out "Night at the Golden Eagle", which I also really liked. Golden Eagle has the same obsession with darker than dark, hell-on-earth textures as Dark Backward. I'm not sure how Rifkin does it, but I've seen few other filmmakers who really capture that sense that you are truly looking into the bowels of hell. Even David Lynch doesn't quite go this far down.
Basic plot involves two old-time cons, one having just been released from prison. The other has been living a straight life at the titular fleabag motel, home to prostitutes, geriatric Hollywood hoofers, and other assorted weirdos and drug addicts. The two old cons have a plan to head to Vegas in the morning and start fresh lives as blackjack dealers, but when a hooker ends up dead in their room, things get complicated. There's also a subplot involving a very young prostitute being shown the tricks of the trade by a motherly older prostitute (played by Ann Magnuson).
The film is actually a pretty big downer. Some definite shades of Bukowski and Hubert Selby Jr. Comic relief comes in the form of a b.s.-spouting, television obsessional (played wonderfully by old-time soul great Sam Moore) and a much put-upon desk clerk ("EVERYONE needs something! I'm out of milk, fer Christ's sake!").
More than anything this makes me wish Rifkin would stick to the darker, textural stuff he has such an undeniable gift for creating.
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