I saw this for the first time not too long ago. The criticism that the film is "bland" or "mediocre" is astoundingly unfounded in my opinion. The dimly lit cinematography was so beautiful that the film moved at such a dreamy pace, even until the earth shattering final half hour, that it felt like being in a trance. The performances elevated it beyond a run of the mill crime thriller. Powerful and hugely underrated.
I always put this film with River's Edge and My Own Private Idaho. I love all three, and this one was the first I saw of them. What a surprise. I thought it would be awful, but it the performances won me over. It can be bland, but I never count that as being a huge reason to dislike a film.
The opening is perfect. The camerawork, Sean Penn's face, the melancholy music; he just drives around in his car, nothing else to do. And then he sees... Her. 3 brilliant minutes; capture perfectly what small town life must be like. But then the movie turns into a mediocre crime thriller.
Feels like Greek tragedy. A more accomplished and adept collection of character actors you will never see. This is Christopher Walken's favorite performance that he has ever essayed and it's quite apparent why. The sins of the father are quite severely visited upon his sons. The Madonna influenced score is haunting. Both Sean and Chris are perfect. The best crime film I have ever seen. Surely Foley's masterwork.