"Confessions of a Hitman" develops a fascinating mood as hitman James Remar, faced with death in a month due to an inoperable brain tumor, grabs $4 million of mob money and ends up being driven instead to Vegas. A large part of the movie is this trip through Death Valley, being driven by a chauffeur in a stretch Caddy. Great settings that the photography picks up beautifully. They pick up a blonde along the way who adds interest. The story is what is called "existential". This is almost a desert noir, even if it ends up in Vegas. Remar has always made an impression on me. I think it was his bad guy roles in "48 Hours" and "The Cotton Club". This movie is on YouTube.
The reviews split between "I hate it" and "I love it" Since I like almost any movie and the "I hate it" school of criticism hardly ever has good reasons for that evaluation, I'll quote a bit of the latter reaction:
"The best thing in the movie is James Remar, who creates a very interesting character that's funny, touching, annoying and a little dangerous. The other actors are also good, certainly the driver, but Remar makes the movie. The cinematography was, at certain points, beautiful. Death Valley never looked so beautiful. And the music was excellent. The story is filled with quirky little details which create an intimate narrative I rarely see in movies these days and though the film might prove underwhelming for those who are used to being hit over the head with Hollywood's sledgehammer-style of filmmaking, I thought the low key approach of the direction was refreshing, certainly for a story about the mob. Thumbs up!"
The other one is called "Frozen Days" (2005), also on YouTube. It's out of Israel, nearly all in black and white. You can find excellent subtitles elsewhere to integrate with it. I found this one to be a very good watch. The lead actress, Anat Klausner, has a big role and handles it extremely well. The photography is noir. It's best to watch this story knowing nothing about it. This excerpt of someone's review might help some:
"A very unexpected combination of themes are played out in this carefully constructed Israeli noir trip. Right from the start it's clear we won't be pampered with the usual cookie-cut narratives and cinematic presentations of "normal" films. Rather, it takes you on a mysterious, gritty quest."
"Mostly at night, the high contrast close-ups of our central girl are striking. Her performance is mesmerizing."