• Release Date: Apr 26, 2002

Mixed or average reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 30
  2. Negative: 11 out of 30
  1. 38
    A truly baffling late entry in the "Pulp Fiction" sweepstakes that ends up drowning in its own pretensions -- along with, quite possibly, what's left of Val Kilmer's movie career.
  2. Reviewed by: Patrick Starkey
    Regardless of the poison of choice, I'm always a little miffed when an actor onscreen is supposedly on a specific drug but too lazy to learn what the actual side-effects are.
  3. 30
    To say that the film is unpleasant would imply that there's an emotional reaction to be gotten from it. I'd have to believe that there was someone, somewhere, who would actually care.
  4. Quickly curdles into a nasty variation of the one-last-score genre.
  5. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    Yet how can one possibly recommend The Salton Sea? If it could, this nasty film would make you smell the disgusting food on the table. And that says nothing about its casual sadism.
  6. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    This extremely plot-thickened tale finally offers little more than the usual genre elements pushed to the kind of extremes that recall the acrid "The Way of the Gun."
  7. Far too slick and manufactured to claim street credibility.
  8. All the movie's narrative gymnastics can't disguise the fact that it's inauthentic at its core and that its story just isn't worth telling.
  9. 20
    A grimy mess set among L.A.'s speed-abusing "tweakers," Salton has neither the substance to justify first-time feature director D.J. Caruso's pretentious flourishes, nor the skill to make those flourishes work on their own terms.
  10. Taking issue with efforts like The Salton Sea, cold and unemotional films that couldn't be more pleased at the opportunity to enthusiastically drag audiences through unhappy material, is as futile as getting mad at the wind.
  11. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    Let's just say that in spite of its malignant sun-scorched palette, absurdist visions, and narrative loop the loops, the picture looks in hindsight like the same old vigilante crap.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 29 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 17
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 17
  3. Negative: 2 out of 17
  1. Jul 9, 2014
    The Salton Sea has many twists and and turns. The movie has impressive acting and a plot that you
    won't figure out until the ending. This
    movie is very underrated and is easily one of Kilmer's best roles. Full Review »
  2. Jun 26, 2014
    The Salton Sea is an amalgamation of pulp fiction, memento and identity. The movie also has a style all it's own. The movie also has connections to Trainspotting because the movie focus on speed addicts. The movie's storyline has connections to those movies but the visuals are inventive and Kilmer is at his peak in the movie. His role is the best he's ever done, he was born for the role. The Salton Sea deserves way more credit than it received in 2002, it is a modern classic. Full Review »