"Does that tickle? 'cause it won't if I pull the trigger!"
Holds up really well on a re-watch. Nicolas Cage stars as a former marine turned drifter, whose need to earn easy money briefly overrides his moral compass. Predictably, bad things soon follow.
As with the Coens' neo-noir debut Blood Simple, the story of Red Rock West is a domino chain of bad consequences, yet every decision the characters make is either logically sound or ethically necessary. John Dahl's craftsmanship is unerringly precise in this regard, and frankly atypical among the glut of '90s thrillers. It's a joy to watch something this well made.
The same kudos applies to the performances. Dennis Hopper is at his hammy best, while Lara Flynn Boyle handles the ambiguity of her role surprisingly well. Cage is the highlight though: while largely reined in, he makes for a very likeable and relatable protagonist. The film itself is probably among his best.