Twist (2003)

"Weak"

Twist (2003) Review


What would happen if you reimagined Dickens' Oliver Twist as a tale of modern-day teen hustlers cruising the nasty streets of Toronto? Twist sets out to answer this question, not that anyone was asking. In fact, Gus Van Sant already answered the question back in 1991 with My Own Private Idaho. Twist walks similar streets but in a tedious way that focuses more on beatings and squalor than on the emotional lives of its characters.

It's down at the donut shop that young Oliver (Joshua Close), a runaway who has grown up in foster homes, meets Dodge (Nick Stahl), a streetwise, hollow-eyed hustler who's always on the lookout for new recruits to present to the local pimp, Fagin (Gary Farmer). The thoroughly unpleasant Fagin, who usually greets his charges with a punch in the face when they return to the ratty hustler rooming house he runs, quickly brings the nervous Oliver into the fold. The only ray of light in this ugly world is Nancy (Michele-Barbara Pelletier), a friendly diner waitress who also happens to be the girlfriend of the unseen Bill Sykes, the terrifying mastermind who apparently controls the entire Toronto underworld, Fagin included.

Let the hustling begin. On chilly nights, the gang hangs on dark street corners leaning into car windows as johns cruise by. Oliver has the good luck to entice a senator who would rather talk than fool around, while Dodge, whose heroin addiction is making him sicker and sicker, mainly just gets beaten up a lot.

So that's 20 minutes. What is writer/director Jacob Tierney going to do with the next 70? Not a heck of a lot, as it turns out. There's more hustling, more heroin, more beatings, more cups of coffee down at the diner. The situation shakes up a bit when Dodge's straight-laced brother shows up to condemn him, an encounter that could be interesting but instead turns shockingly and unnecessarily obscene when, in exchange for money, Dodge agrees to his brother's demand that he demonstrate what he does for a living right there, right now, on his brother. My memory may be a little vague on this one, but I don't recall any incest scenes in the original Oliver Twist. Blimey!

Nick Stahl provides the druggy angst necessary for his role, and Joshua Close is appropriately wide-eyed and appalled as he learns the tricks of the trade, so to speak. But as Twist slowly makes its way toward its inevitable blood-soaked conclusion, it never grabs you by the throat the way such a darkly themed movie should. Maybe it's just that the Dickens overlay is too contrived. Maybe it's that Toronto isn't scary enough. Whatever the case, Twist doesn't engage. When you see it standing on the corner, you may as well drive on by.



Facts and Figures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.