August 6th, 2021
STARRING: RAFFERTY LAW, LENA HEADEY, RITA ORA, MICHAEL CAINE, SOPHIE SIMNETT
DIRECTED BY: MARTIN OWEN
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 1 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
When movies take a literary and a cinematic classic and try incredibly hard to revinvision the material, the results are typically dire. That statement rings true in Martin Owen’s Twist, a hip-hop inspired, parkour laced attempt at the Charles Dickens classic, which lacks the little things to make a story about orphaned thieves have any substance. The interesting tidbit is that it stars Rafferty Law as the title Twist, who is the oldest son and lookalike to his father Jude Law, and has just enough charisma to show he’s capable of carrying a film. Still, the stakes are incredibly low, the romance entirely contrived, and the efforts from everyone surrounding Law to be the bare minimum of acting. There’s no shock that Twist is lacking in any sort of surprises.
We’re introduced to our lead character Oliver (Law) through a series run-ins with the local beat cops, when he’s showing off his ability to do street art with some spray cans and a flick of his wrist. When he’s on the run from the police, Oliver is also good at evading, hopping over cars, leaping onto ladders, climbing, rooftop jumping and flipping himself to places where most people can’t go. He bumps into a few other mischievous thieves, Dodge (Rita Ora) and Batesy (Franz Drameh), who help Oliver when he’s in a bind, and coincidentally become his new friends. They introduce him to Fagan (Michael Caine), an elderly man with an eye for priceless art and looks over his gang of thieves. Along with him is Sikes (Lena Headey), his muscle to keep the merchandise moving, and pushing Oliver’s love interest Red (Sophie Simnett) to keep stealing.
Possibly on paper it sounded good to director Martin Owen to have a fresh updated version of the Dickens novel, but writers John Wrathall and Sally Collett can’t get us to truly care about these characters. There’s an emphasis on family and making your new family work, but both the dialogue and the heist parts never rise the blood pressure. The romance between Oliver and Red is contrived, the scenes where Oliver breaks into art studios is convenient, and the set designs are plastic. What’s also bad is the way Twist adds unnecessary style, where camera tricks are used to make Oliver’s parkour running make the audience dizzy and doing flips over things just for the sake of it come off quite hilarious. Twist seems to be interested in masking its budget shortcomings with quick cuts and bad chase scenes.
The other factors at play are the performances, which are not on the awful side, but just too boring to care. Jude Law’s son Rafferty is a spitting image of his father. I did a double take at first, didn’t know he was in this, but knew it was Law’s kid. His performance is too much for the material, while the comic relief from Rita Ora is nice, her character is limited to always being in the right place at the right time. As for the bigger stars, Michael Caine is doing the bare minimum, similar to his seated performances in Christopher Nolan films these days, he’s there for the check, his recognizable voice, and name. Lena Headey attempts to dig out all she can from the villainous Sikes, but it turns into her just mean mugging and starring.
When it comes to doing Charles Dickens novels, it seems like a flashy and cool thing to revive his work with the times, but it ultimately ends up pointless. I’d honestly prefer a different, less adapted Dickens work, or just put all the effort into doing it the classic way. It may be interesting for everyone involved to try and do something like this, but being half in on Charles Dickens is not worth doing at all. Your better off watching the Carol Reed best picture winning version. Stick with the classics, that’s the big Twist.
TWIST IS AVAILABLE ON DEMAND AND PLAYING AT SELECT THEATERS
1 ½ STARS
Written by: Leo Brady