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

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

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.