i would call this a 3-1 movie: 3 parts coolness and intrigue to 1 part "end the damn thing already!" i enjoyed the first three quarters of the film immensely. the characters were insanely drawn caricatures, as clare says in her review, and they were a lot of fun, particularly billy bob. if you're going to go see this film and develop the urge to walk out midway through it, as i wouldn't be surprised if people did (hey, it's blood and it's ollie, what do you expect?), at least stay until billy bob starts playing board games. that scene is priceless.
but the last fourth of the movie left me a bit bored, save for billy bob. the movie runs a little long at 2 hours, and i really felt it. it felt like ridley's script was twisting and turning just to try to catch the viewer off-guard, but this kind of movie has been made enough times to negate any surprise that ridley and stone try to give us. so instead of sitting agape as the film drew to a close, i sat there fishing in the dregs of my popcorn bag wishing that i was watching something a little more original (over the top perfomances !=original, kids).
despite my dislike for the ending of u-turn, you should still go see it. not for the faint of heart, though - as usual, the stone blood/gore count is fairly high, and it goes at a continuous, steady pace from the beginning to the end. we're treated to a multitude of trademark off-kilter stone camera angles and shots, although if i have to see another fisheye lens anytime in the next year, i'm going to scream. after watching a horrid short film from 1966 in lecture last week which was done entirely in fisheye and was just 10 minutes of watching a naked woman frolic in the woods, i'm a little sick of it.
the performances are what really make this film worth watching, however. they're not meaty characters like in, say, la confidential, but they're off-the-wall enough to be entertaining, particularly claire and billy bob. as a friend of mine said, billy bob's character in this flick makes karl childers of sling blade look like a well adjusted genius. and, ever vigilant on the claire oscar watch, depending on the depth of the supporting actress field and how the rainmaker is received when it opens in november, claire could possibly garner a nod for playing the flirty idiot, jenny. despite her 3 scenes and 10 minutes of screen time, it's possible - smaller performances have been nom'd and emerged victorious before (i give jo van fleet in east of eden as an example of this, because i just watched it last week and she couldn't have been in the movie for more than 10 minutes; same with diane ladd in wild at heart, although she didn't win). and sean penn is as wonderful as ever as luckless/lucky bobby cooper.
let the fall move glut begin.
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