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U-TURN

SYNOPSIS:
On an isolated road in the depths of the Arizona outback, petty gangster Bobby Cooper (Sean Penn) is stranded when his red convertible Mustang boils its radiator. The nearest town is Superior, and the lone gas station is run by the mechanic from hell, Darrell (Billy Bob Thornton) in whose not-so-trusting hands Bobby must leave his precious car. Superior, as Bobby is about to discover, is a mis-named town full of unsorted, strange characters, from the teenage nymphomaniac (Claire Danes) shattered that Patsy Cline is dead, to her psychotically jealous boyfriend (Joaquin Phoenix) who mistakes harmless conversation for sexual attention. But the two characters whose meeting has more than a deadly effect on young Bobby is the alluring and seductive Grace (Jennifer Lopez) and her sadistic older husband – or is father - Jake (Nick Nolte). In this barren town of talkative blind Indians and scorpions, this well to do couple plays a deadly cat and mouse game with a guy who'd do anything, including murder, to get the hell out of Superior.

"Everybody goes over the top, some literally, in this funky, noir, graphic psycho-chiller road movie from Oliver Stone, whose work is getting more like a well chewed olive stone every outing: tough and tasteless, but for a vaguely sour flavour. I like the bits of irony – always welcome from Americans – that litter this dustbin of the human condition, like the small town’s name, like Voight’s blind Indian seer, like Billy Bob Thornton’s idiot smartarse, like Sean Penn’s little hood impatient with imperfection, and like Ennio Morricone’s high-moral-values score. You can’t say it’s not entertaining in its own foul way, and there is lots of great business from the cast, all of whom inhabit their characters with a fetid surefootedness that suggests they enjoyed this villainy. But once it’s over, the aftertaste is a bit like a hangover from something rancid. Don’t let me put you off, though. It does linger well in the memory. I think I’ll go and see it again."
Andrew L. Urban

"Here is a riveting example of film noir, that is bold, brash and brazen and rages with passion. U-Turn has an intensity that engages magnetically, with Oliver Stone’s arresting direction, stunning performances and a script full of surprises. We meet characters so devious, colourful and complex, that they jump right off the palette into our reality. Sean Penn is mesmerizing as Bobby; Nick Nolte gives an eye-popping performance that is all-at-once fascinating and horrific; Jennifer Lopez is bewitching as the temptress; Billy Bob Thornton will haunt you as the hideous Darrell, the mechanic from Hell. With an ensemble cast of the calibre offered here, it is no wonder we are in for a treat. This is not a film for those who love subtlety, light and shade. This is a film that is full on and in-your-face. If you are up for the ride, the twists and turns will fascinate, horrify, amuse and capture you. The use of music in U-Turn is absolutely sensational. Almost more important that the script at times, music is an emotional trigger throughout. Peggy Lee’s "It’s a Good Day… How Could Anything Be Wrong..?" starts the intrigue at the top, but then we journey through countless tunes of differing styles, full of imagery and as colourful as the film’s characters."
Louise Keller

"Master film maker Oliver Stone is back with a vengeance, treating the movie goer to a surreal and intoxicating journey down the road to the very underbelly of people's souls. U-Turn is a film that is part allegorical Western, part film noir thriller and part black comedy - very black. This is Stone at his best, using his camera and imaginative editing to unnerve and dislocate the viewer in this most compelling and exhilarating of cinematic journeys. The director has also created the perfect cast, one that outdoes itself. Penn is perfect as the film's unwilling anti-hero, fragile yet tough, trying to do whatever he can to escape both a past and a present in true film noir style. As the malevolent Jake, Nolte is dynamic, chilling, fascinating to watch, while Lopez is intoxicating and remarkable as the femme fatale with a difference. There are equally strong performances from the likes of Oscar winner Billy Bob Thornton, hilarious yet chilling as the garage mechanic, and Clare Danes adds further depth to her work as the cooky teenager. Featuring sharply written dialogue by John Ridley, stunning camera work by Stone veteran Robert Richardson, a moody score by Ennio Morricone with a soundtrack featuring songs that heighten the film's narrative, including the apt opener "It's A Good Day" and Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire". Aided by the imaginative and intelligent direction of Stone, U-Turn is a funny, tragic and seductive work, black, bleak and brazen to the end."
Paul Fischer

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 3
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

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See Lynden Barber's SOUNDTRACK REVIEW


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U-TURN ( R )18+
(US)

CAST: Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Jennifer Lopez, Powers Boothe, Claire Danes, Joaquin Phoenix, Billy Bob Thornton, Jon Voight, Abraham Benrubi, Julie Haggerty, Bo Hopkins, Valery Nikolaev, Ilia Vokokh, Aida Linares, Laurie Metcalf, Liv Tyler

DIRECTOR: Oliver Stone

PRODUCER: Dan Halsted

SCRIPT: John Ridley (based on his book ‘Stray Dogs’)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Robert Richardson

EDITOR: Hank Corwin, Thomas J. Nordberg

MUSIC: Ennio Morricone

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Victor Kempster

RUNNING TIME: 125 minutes

 

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: ColTriStar

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 26, 1998







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