Osiris Entertainment today officially announced the release of true crime thriller Death in the Desert, starring Michael Madsen as a variation on real-life casino tycoon Ted Binion. In the real story, Binion's missus cheated on him and the next thing you know three turns into two - as Binion's body is discovered in the desert. The movie, directed by Josh Evans, essentially keeps the same story - but changes the names.. likely for legal reasons.
The film, which I had the chance to watch last week, is a gritty, compelling and admirable piece of work. Like Scorsese's Casino, Vegas is as much a star of the movie as it's talented cast, and like Casino, this one will have you gnawing on your nails and wiping the sweat from your neck throughout. As Ray, Madsen is terrific - I can't think of when he was last this good; the Reservoir Dogs actor immerses himself in the role, giving an award-worthy performance that's as powerful as it is intimidating. Sure, there are moments here and there that dip, but on the whole, it's one of the best independent thrillers I've come across in recent times. It should help get Madsen better roles from here on out, and cement Evans' future as a filmmaker.
Here's the press release :
Death in the Desert, inspired by the true crime book by Cathy Scott, and starring internationally-acclaimed actor Michael Madsen, comes to VOD February 16 from Osiris Entertainment.
Michael Madsen “steals the show” (Examiner.com) in a “classic” and “captivating” thriller (The Huffington Post) inspired by the real-life murder of casino tycoon Ted Binion.
Legendary casino owner Ray Easler (Madsen, The Hateful Eight) gets more than he bargained for when his live-in girlfriend falls for the hired help. What results is a mystery a deck of cards long, and a finale that’ll shock like the largest of losses.
Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Josh Evans,Death in the Desert available February 16 on VOD.