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Drama - Survival

U-Turn (1997)

Duration2h 5m
RatingsUK: 18, USA: PG, Denmark 
Source of storyAn original screenplay
DirectorOliver Stone
Writers/ScriptJohn Ridley
StarringSean Penn, Billy Bob Thornton, Jon Voight, Jennifer Lopez, Powers Boothe, Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix, Claire Danes, Laurie Metcalf, Liv Tyler
RatingsIMDb: 6.7/10 by 51,439 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 61% by 51 reviewers. Review2view: 7.5/10.

Elevator Pitch: Bobby Cooper is a small time hood, driving to Las Vegas in his Mustang, in order to pay a gang boss $30,000, when his radiator hose bursts. He leaves the main road and drives into Superior, a small town, leaving his car with Darrell, a doubtful mechanic, and walking away with his bag of cash. He is in When in a convenience store when it is robbed, and in the resulting fracas his bag of money is destroyed. Now penniless he hits on Grace, who takes him to her home but her husband Jake walks in on them. Later Jake offers Bobby money if he will kill Grace, but Grace also offers him money if he will kill Jake. Meanwhile Darrell has taken the Mustang to bits and is demanding money to put it together again.  With no way out, how will Bobby survive in this mad town?

Content: There is quite a bit of sex with “thrusting”, but only one brief flash of nudity. We see Bobby having two fingers cut off by the mob to encourage him to pay back the $30,000. Superior, Arizona, apparently a real place, plays itself. Bobby argued with Darrell the mechanic in an area strewn with broken machinery. There are frequent altercations with Toby N. Tucker because his girlfriend keeps hitting on Bobby, the stranger in town. In Jake’s house Grace gets an Indian hatchet out and kills him.  The atmosphere is gloomy.

A View: Oddly most of the critics disliked this downbeat outing, preferring “Natural Born Killers”. I thought that Sean Penn was just right as the desolate and depressed loner and much preffered this film which captured the sheer desperation extant in this desert community. I had first seen it in a hotel in America and remembered it, so was pleased when it appeared on our cable channel. So if this review has not put you off, give it a go.

Difficult to clasify, but is probably a “Survival” film. Others in the genre could be: Scenic Route, The Way Back and Flight of the Phoenix.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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