Bobby Cooper thinks he’s lucky. Poor bastard, imagine if he wasn’t… Bobby’s a big gambler, driving through the states in his kick ass Mustang 64. Of course, his favorite place is Las Vegas. Well, it used to be, before he owed 13 grands to a bunch of mobsters, who cut two of his fingers off to force him to pay. After a few weeks, Bobby achieves to find the money. He’s heading to Vegas to pay his debt when his car breaks down, in the middle of the desert. Bobby is then stuck in Superior, the only town around. He meets many not always friendly people, like Grace, a sexy Indian girl, and Jake, her mean and filthy husband. Then there’s a crooked mechanic, a blind Wise man, a dumb yet cute country girl and her aggressive boyfriend, TNT. Bobby wanders around town, finding trouble wherever it’s hidden.
The story is extremely déjà-vu: a down-on-his luck dude who’s caught between a femme fatale and her abusive husband. It involves sex, betrayal and murder, all classic film noir themes. But instead of being set in a big city, the film takes place in the kind of nowhere town you see in Westerns. Sand, snakes and scorpions abound, the weather is hot and you’ve got this newcomer who disturbs the town’s routine. If not really original, the screenplay is sharply written and it presents some interesting characters, impersonated by an impressive cast. Sean Penn plays Bobby, the guy who’s getting in one shitty situation after another. I love Penn. He’s an exceptionally talented actor who’s always fascinating. Jennifer Lopez is very good as Grace. She’s charming and dangerous at the same time. I used to hate Nick Nolte, but here, he’s perfect as Jake, Grace’s husband. Some other well-known actors are in the film, but they’re almost impossible to recognize. Billy Bob Thornton plays the dirty mechanic, and the old blind guy is in fact Jon Voight. Claire Danes can also be seen in a few scenes as a good looking but not really bright broad.
The best thing in “U-Turn” is the work behind the camera. Once again, Oliver Stone did an amazing directing job. His film is visually dazzling. With brilliant photography and inventive camerawork, Stone gives a really interesting feel to the story. His images are empowered even more by the excellent Ennio Morricone score. The soundtrack also features some cool country tunes, but someone made the mistake of ripping off a track from “Pulp Fiction”, Ricky Nelson’s Lonesome Town. What’s the purpose of using a song that was already used? Anyway, that’s just a detail. “U-Turn” ain’t anything new, but it’s done with a enough talent and style to be worth checking out.