U Turn

Director Oliver Stone
Written by John Ridley (based on the novel Stray Dogs)

Sean Penn, Jennifer Lopez, Nick Nolte, Billy Bob Thornton, Jon Voight, Powers Booth, Joaquin Phoenix, Claire Danes, Julie Hagerty, Laurie Metcalf, Liv Tyler.

Bobby Cooper (Penn) is headed to Vegas to pay off a gambling debt, when his car requires urgent repair. Stopping off at a small town in Arizona, he leaves his car with a local mechanic Darrell (Thornton), and heads to the small and unusual town.

He soon finds himself attracted to a young woman (Lopez) and heads to her house, and they find themselves almost in bed before her older husband (Nolte) arrives home. When he asks Bobby to kill his wife, he is horrified. But when the money he was going to use to pay off his debt is destroyed, he may reconsider. But soon she too is asking Bobby to kill her husband, and Bobby may have found himself in a world of trouble.

I wanted to like this going in, and while I didn’t ‘dislike’ it, I didn’t love it. This is my first review of an Oliver Stone movie, I have more on my list of his that it’s been a while since I’ve watched, so I’m interested in seeing if he uses directors trademarks here.

He makes fair use of different lens uses/ especially when there is dialogue between two characters, which is showing how the characters see each other. One example is how Bobby and Darrell see each other.

I felt his use of extreme close ups were a little overused, and seemed only really used for an extra visual stimulus, to make the audience as uncomfortable as the characters were. If they were scaled back slightly, I think this might have been more effective, but it almost seemed redundant and arrogant.

It is also a little long, and it takes almost an hour for the conflict to really begin. There is also a ‘secondary’ conflict that doesn’t at all go anywhere which I found disappointing. The big down is Voight’s blind Native American. I’m not even American and I found this out of place and just off putting.

The score by the late great Ennio Morricone is gothic in nature and fits well within the film.



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