When Bobby's car breaks down in the desert while on the run from some of the bookies who have already taken two of his fingers, he becomes trapped in the nearby small town where the people are stranger than anyone he's encountered. After becoming involved with a (unbeknownst to him) young married woman, her husband hires Bobby to kill her. Later, she hires Bobby to kill the husband. Written by
Jason Ihle <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In "U-Turn," Oliver Stone narrows his focus from the broad-canvass projects he typically produces. Those seeking the knowing profundities of "JFK" or "Nixon" will be disappointed. This is a genre picture of the desert southwestern potboiler variety, a much-updated "Painted Desert" kind of film. Lots of bad luck, scorpions, whiskey, sexual perversity, bullying, greed, lots of sweat and very little shaving. The basic questions begged by a movie like this one are these: Who will have sex? Who will live? Who will die? And who will end up with the money? By the final reel, all these questions are very satisfactorily answered. For a picture of this type, "U-Turn" is very good indeed.
Sean Penn is smashing, Nolte has never been creepier, and Jennifer Lopez is, er, extremely effective in this film's only real female role. John Voight, buried in the role a mystic Indian, is most entertaining. And we get another patented oddball performance by Billy Bob Thornton that is absolutely worth the price of admission. For good measure, Juaquin Phoenix and Claire Danes deliver a too-brief but electrifying turn as a young couple adept at creating trouble. As if Sean Penn, in this picture, didn't have enough already.
Sure, the predictable desert atmospherics are a bit overdone. But the solid script by John Ridley, the letter-perfect performances, and Stone's sure directorial hand make this one of his better films.
This movie is out of the theatres, so one word to you parents about "U-Turn." This is not one to watch in the presence of the kiddies. It contains very graphic and violence and sexual material clearly unsuitable for young folk or the sensitive soul of any age.
But if you like your film noir with sand and scorpions thrown in for good measure, this is a sure-fire rental that will leave you fully satisfied.
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