Every young person faces a crossroads in their life. They must choose between a comfortable go-nowhere life or making something special of themselves. In director Luke Covert’s feature film, Turbo Cola, a young man goes to extreme lengths to secure a better future post-high school graduation.
Written by Covert, Samantha Oty, and Matthew Kiskis and based on Oty’s play, New Year’s Eve at the Stop N Go, the movie is set on December 31, 1999, just before the world is about to implode from the Y2K virus. Austin (Nicholas Stoesser) has finally found a way out of his insignificant life in the middle of Nowhere, USA. He works at a Quality Mart gas station and convenience store. He discovered that the ATM next to one of the refrigerators has a hole in it, and he can easily slip his hand in and steal the cash.
Along with this buddy, Swearsky (Jared Spears), the plan is for Austin to take the New Year’s Eve shift and, throughout the night, slowly steal the cash and dump it in a Turbo Cola sweepstakes display to fool the security cameras. If it works out, no one will know the money has been missing for days, and no one will get caught. It is the perfect crime!
But simple schemes of deceit are rarely so in cinema, and Turbo Cola is no different. As Austin desperately tries to find a moment alone to lift the cash, he’s interrupted by a cop in need of coffee or his friends constantly stopping by to drag him to the Y2K party at the “Fallout Shelter” for one last celebration just before the world ends.
“…slowly steal the cash and dump it in a Turbo Cola sweepstakes…If it works out, no one will know…”
Turbo Cola is not so much about the heist but Austin confronting the elements of his life holding him back. So let’s look past for a moment his biggest obstacle: the cash he needs to follow his girlfriend, Mary Jane (Jordyn Denning), to NYU. Preventing him from really growing are the people in his life like his best friend, Jimmy (Landon Tavernier), who wants Austin to share an apartment with him after high school, and a mother who can’t seem to leave an abusive husband.
I mentioned this is an adaptation of a play, but it rarely feels like one. Covert brilliantly transports the action from the stage to the claustrophobic confines of a convenience store. Every step and conversation feels authentic, primarily because the filmmaker stretches the action out over an evening versus being one continuous string like a play. What should be a quiet late shift at a convenience store just doesn’t happen. The director balances the main story’s tension between the heist and almost getting caught with the stress of Austin’s relationships with friends and family. His mother chooses the security of a bad relationship, while Jimmy fears being left alone, and Mary Jane questions being involved in a long-distance relationship. Austin’s plans are now in jeopardy.
The cast is equally exceptional, and the majority of them are just starting in the game. Stoesser carries the story and nails it. The supporting cast, from top to bottom, grasps every character perfectly.
Turbo Cola is quite an impressive independent film. A great deal of credit should go to director Luke Covert for the almost perfect execution of an indie drama. The final movie feels effortless, and Covert has a great future ahead of him.
For more information, visit the Turbo Cola official website.
"…almost perfect execution of an indie drama."
“Every action and conversation feel authentic, primarily because he stretches the action out over an evening versus being one continuous string of action like a play.”
Weird, because the play has the same pacing and location as the movie (minus the irrelevant heist) so I’m not sure what this is supposed to mean exactly.
Also “he” didn’t stretch anything. The movie script was mostly written by the playwright, Sam Oty. The only thing the director and producer added was the heist and Turbo Cola branding.
You make a valid point. My point is that the film didn’t feel like a play. Granted I’ve never seen the play, so I’m commenting on the actual performances in the film.