U Turn

U Turn


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

There is something inevitable about the attractive stranger in a two-bit town being seduced by the bored young wife of a rich old goat. Dennis Hopper did it in The Hot Spot, with Don Johnson, not so long ago. That was crap, too.

Attractive stranger equals Bobby (Sean Penn), en route to California with a bag load of money for the Mob. He's not a narcissistic charm pup like Johnson. He's bad tempered, hot and unlucky. He wants to be the man, but he's not and it pisses him off. Bored young wife equals Grace (Jennifer Lopez), a halfcast redskin sex trap, who bounces down the dusty street in a short cotton dress that rides up her thighs, hinting at long afternoons sipping love juleps with the blinds drawn.

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Rich old goat equals Jake (Nick Nolte), Grace's husband and local real estate tzar, as if anyone in their right mind wants to live in this hellhole. He's mean, enraged, cuckolded and capable of evil deeds, as long as someone else can be paid to execute them.

The two-bit town equals Superior, Arizona, a spit and a fart off the main desert drag, inhabited by discarded souls, a devious dunce who fixes cars, a blind philosophical tramp (Jon Voight) who burbles nonsense at anything that moves, a teenage vixen (Claire Danes) who bates her boyfriend by flirting with Bobby and a sheriff who breaks open half bottles of bourbon before the sun begins to burn.

True to trash novel tradition, the story concerns cash, sex, murder and betrayal. Oliver Stone directs like a grasshopper on amphetamines. Ever since Natural Born Killers, he's been addicted to tricksy camerawork, slo-mo, erratic editing, instant flashbacks, the pick'n'mix look which creates a nervous, unsettled effect, destroying any attempt at mood, or atmosphere. The half star, by the way, is for Sean Penn, who gives a typically committed performance, unlike Nick Nolte, who plays it like a panto villain.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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U Turn packshot
A drifter cuckolds a rich man in a small town while on the way to deliver goodies for the mob.
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Director: Oliver Stone

Writer: John Ridley

Starring: Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Jennifer Lopez, Billy Bob Thornton, Powers Boothe, Claire Danes, Joaquin Phoenix, Jon Voight

Year: 1997

Runtime: 125 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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