Sheriff candidate Ray Dolezal discoves a dead Indian man carrying half-a-million dollars one night on his rounds. He knows that if he solves the mystery on his own, it will assure his election. He takes the loot and sets out to find the murderer, but before long he has sinister criminals and the FBI on his tail.
This good-looking, promisingly cast conspiracy thriller starts intriguingly enough but sadly deteriorates rapidly as it becomes far too complicated for its own good.
White Sands is set in the dramatic landscapes of the American Southwest where smalltown New Mexico deputy sheriff Ray Dolezal (Dafoe) finds a dead man, half a million dollars and a phone number out in the middle of nowhere. Letting his fingers do the walking, he is prompted to disregard the misgivings of his wife (the strangely uncredited Mimi Rogers) and sets off sleuthing unnecessarily on his own.
Before long, of course, Ray is caught between two sets of sinister chappies each claiming to be from the FBI, and soon he assumes the identity of the dead man for the benefit of the even more sinister Mickey Rourke, who rolls up with two strident henchpersons. Enter Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, stage right, the rich girl turned on by crime and falling in lurve with Ray in five seconds flat.
The whole wildly convoluted web of covert operations, murder, double crosses, red herrings and false identity on display here would seem to point to something to do with international arms smuggling - but when it's as confused and uninvolving as it is here, who cares?
Apart from a couple of nice touches - like a faked orgasm scene that's almost as off the wall as the one in When Harry Met Sally - mark this firmly in 'Should Have Been Better'.