U Turn

20  MAR
Sex. Murder. Betrayal. Everything that makes life worth living.

Directed by  Oliver Stone
Written by  John Ridley, Oliver Stone
Starring:  Sean Penn (Bobby Cooper)
Jennifer Lopez (Grace McKenna)
Nick Nolte (Jake McKenna)
Jon Voight (Blind Man)
Billy Bob Thornton (Darrell)
Claire Danes (Jenny)
Joaquin Phoenix (Toby N. Tucker)
Runtime: 125 minutes

Put together some David Lynch characters, Natural Born Killers camera angles and effects, some Tarantino-like violence, some typical Ennio Morricone's music, a 'dramatic' but predictable ending, a cameo by Liv Tyler and here you have U Turn. Admittedly this sounds promising but the actual result is rather disappointing.

The plot tells the story of a very unlucky man, played quite well by Sean Penn, who ends up blocked in a small town in the middle of the desert in Arizona and has to face problems coming both from his past and from his difficult interaction with the strange inhabitants of the town. He remains trapped in a rather twisted affair of an old man married to a young woman who try to kill each other; yet, the perversity of the characters goes beyond this and leads to the obvious bloody ending.

The main problem of this movie is the lack of originality and hence the lack of interest induced in the viewers. Every shot, every idea, every character, everything has been already seen, heard or narrated, U Turn doesn't add anything to a genre that I particularly like, although it doesn't even completely ruin it. The strange camera effects, the bizarre editing, the shots of vultures and the flashbacks create a distinctive atmosphere which still looks exaggerated and 'fake'...

I didn't like Jennifer Lopez with her femme fatale character that didn't really give more credibility to the story. The most charming character is the blind man who seats in the middle of the town begging for money, giving weird advices and philosophical aphorisms. He is a grotesque parody of the typical Vietnam veteran but it works, unlike other similarly characterized people of this absurd town. Also the disgusting mechanic is quite catchy although its characterization is definitely over the top!

There are some sub-stories that end too quickly, it seems that they couldn't go on without becoming definitely meaningless and ridiculous. A few silly moments seemed to be unintentional and made things even worse. The ending makes more sense than most other parts of the story but it is still foreseeable and shares a feeling of dullness with the rest of the movie. It's a real pity that Oliver Stone completely missed the chance to make something good here...

Rating: 6.5  **

Links:  Official Site




© Copyright Sergio Monesi, 1997-1999.
Last updated: 25 Jun 1999