U Turn (1997)

“U Turn” (1997)


Oliver at the gates of wonderland

I don’t have great consideration for Stone, and the vast majority of his films. He seems to be one of those dull guys who only talk to be heard, who only find significant that other people are around so they can agree to what he’s saying, nod affirmatively, and giving him the standing ovations his bright intellect deserves. Actually i think there is a huge number of directors (and other artists) who fall into this kind of personality category. I suppose always trying to form an opinion above the average minds makes them think they are themselves different than the ordinary masses. Well sometimes they are, and thus justify the arrogance: Wenders and Tarantino (sometimes). Others are just dumb egocentric personalities. Stone is one of them. All his political babbling are conspiracy theories he seriously portrays as unquestionable truth. Platoon was a great experience, but other than that there is not much to see.

This film, however, deserves some credit. Oh, Stone’s personality is here, and that waists the experience in a great portion. But there were interesting people working here, and risks were taken, even by Oliver. So although this is, after all, a failure, i think it is a worthy one, almost glorious, because there was ambition behind it, and true commitment to get there.

This is a Coen set up, one where the ordinary world provides us with bizarre answers to odd situations. We start, just as Penn, outside of the world. At the beginning we are literally driven to that crazy physical set, and also literally left stranded there. And apart from the story that links Penn to Lopez to Nolte, all the surrounding characters exist to guarantee us that the world is tricky, bizarre, and untrustable. This is absolutely cinematic, and it is the greatest attempt made here. The Coens are the current masters doing this, already were back than. Penn does a great job, as usual, in this case playing the ambiguity of feeling outside that crazy world and letting himself get sucked into it. Whatever works here certainly has to do with him. Jennifer Lopez can’t really act, but actually i think that played in favour of the film here, because by not controlling her acting, she didn’t allow us to see through her, and that’s a good thing given the story. She’s also, of course, a physical character, her body counts. Phoenix, Danes, Billy Bob, Voight. Each episode that involves them depends on them as actors, so this is a film about acting, even if Stone wouldn’t want that so much.

What ruins this is to see how Oliver Stone collected so many visual tricks, and uses them all indiscriminately, at every moment. All those editing tricks, of splitting what you hear from what you see, plus the film tricks that change colours sometimes. Stone thought that would be enough to grant the film the mood he wanted. Actually some of them might actually be very powerful, but they require a sensitive mind to use them, not someone who stares at a mirror while he conceives his work. Stone had a good shot, he could have made us really cross into this world, but he blew it because he wouldn’t erase himself from the film, he could allow this to be fully a collective effort.

The soundtrack is the more focused element we have here.

My opinion: 3/5

This comment on IMDb


1 Response to “U Turn (1997)”

  1. 1 Mperience! Trackback on July 21, 2010 at 10:54 am

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