Thursday, July 26, 2012

U TURN (1997) - Oliver Stone


U Turn is better than I remembered. More a genre parody, really, than straight ahead film noir. It takes the Hick Town From Hell template to comically absurd levels.

Some of Stone's stylistic choices still annoy though. The montage-on-mushrooms editing style he adopted for Natural Born Killers and has retained over the years can be a little overbearing for this genre. The Land of a Thousand Needle Drops soundtrack is fine for the shuffling car radio at the beginning, but, seriously, is there any reason a real speed trap Arizona mechanic would be listening to a Ween song in his garage? Also, there's that heavy-handed thing Stone tends to do with Native American characters. If you've seen any of his flicks since Platoon, you probably know what I'm talking about.

What U Turn does do right is deliver some of the most unsettling dental prosthetics in the history of film. From mechanic Billy Bob Thornton's caked-on plaque retainer to redneck businessman Nick Nolte's wooden teeth to blind Indian Jon Voight's calcified oral nubbins to Sean Penn's black-out dentures at the end, this movie, more than anything else, has seriously disturbed orthodontics on the brain.

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