The failure of the American Dream is pre-eminently palpable on the cheerless plains surrounding the Salton Sea in California. This inland sea in the midst of California’s Colorado Desert was once home to a sophisticated holiday resort; now all that remains around this puddle filled with dead fish is a loose-knit community of social outcasts. Bombay Beach is a spectacular, hypnotic three-piece documentary with music by Beirut and Bob Dylan, and dancing protagonists.
Filmmaker Alma Har’el presents her unique portrait of three local residents: a bipolar teenager with a lively imagination, a black football player fleeing the violence on the streets of Los Angeles, and a retired oil worker living off whisky, cigarettes and joie de vivre. Are they a product of the world they live in, or is their world a construction of their own imagination? High-spirited and gorgeously constructed narrative about the life of a small community in a surreal, poetic and haunting landscape.