Self-conscious genre moves are probably inevitable in a film billed as "neo-noir." "The Big Bang" lines up the usual suspects, from the world-weary gumshoe and unwholesome cops to the femme fatale and big, lovelorn galoot. Even with Antonio Banderas leading a cast of familiar faces, the movie never rises above a style-over-substance exercise.
Screenwriter Erik Jendresen attempts to update the borrowed elements with a heavy dose of quantum physics and atomic science, and director Tony Krantz uses saturated candy colors to cast the proceedings in a surreal glow. The visual scheme, if not the premise, starts to jell in New Mexico-set (and Spokane, Wash.-shot) scenes. Los Angeles private eye Ned Cruz (Banderas) has driven through a neon dream desert in search of a missing person he's not sure exists. The filmmakers, meanwhile, lean on his voice-over narration to propel the story.