Ah yes, a modern-day "twist" on a classic tale.
Ah yes, a modern-day "twist" on a classic tale. It's been done before and goodness knows, it will be done again. Movie lovers are becoming quite familiar with seeing the kids of well-established actors (in this case, Jude Law's 24-year-old son, Raff) chase after a film career in hopes of following in their parents' impressive footsteps. Now, this won't be a review on nepotism. Potential "favoritism" in cinema has launched the careers of some of the most beloved stars out there (Jamie Lee Curtis! Liza Minelli!) In this case, however, the younger Law simply fails to emit the same sparkle his dad has delivered to audiences for decades. He is still young, though, and with some work could manage to make a name for himself.
I will give credit where credit is due: Director Martin Owen utilizes the streets of London in a way that is energetic and fun, giving the film a youthful and fast-paced feel. The sets are colorful and vibrant, which goes hand-in-hand with the artistic theme of the movie. There are some full-spin camera shots that made me a tad woozy, but are creative nonetheless. Unfortunately, Owen never seems to grasp onto a target audience, which got me wondering for whom this movie was even made. The splashy imagery and awkward interactions between young characters gives the movie a very "Kidz Bop version of Oceans 11" feel, but some more adult themes definitely wouldn't be appropriate for children.
It's billed as a modern-day adaptation of the classic tale of 'Oliver Twist' - though with my rudimentary knowledge of the story, I failed to make many meaningful connections between the two apart from the main character's name. It tells the story of Oliver (referred to by his friends as 'Twist'), a young man who lost his mother and turns to "extreme graffiti art" to help numb the pain. After getting caught up in a world of petty crime and, in a rather bizarre turn, a parkour-esque style of scaling buildings, his life is changed forever when he's taken in by an ex-art dealer and a group of young street criminals who think he can help them pull off the perfect crime. While an odd concept, it could have at least been fun. Instead the drama felt forced, the story dragged, and the main characters suffered from an unfortunate lack of chemistry.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
It is here where the movie suffers the most carnage. I want to be encouraging, but Raff Law's acting needs work. His delivery feels more 'high school play' than feature film. The young supporting cast was fine, but forgettable, and I honestly have to wonder what drove Michael Caine to join a production like this. Lena Heady's turn as a menacing mobster-style crime boss is watchable, but it just doesn't jive with the juvenile feel of the film and "after school special" atmosphere of the movie as a whole.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
It would be pretty tough to make the young members of this good-looking cast look bad, but it certainly appears someone tried. The women are dressed in some serious early aughts attire (I may have thought it was set in the 2000s or earlier if the film didn't feature smart phones). There is also a scene featuring a bearded Michael Caine in disguise which comes off as more cringe-funny than legitimate comedy.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The music is generally upbeat and funky, which meshes well with the film's youthful vibe. While contributing to the movie's vibrant and colorful atmosphere, it doesn't do it any favors in terms of making it feel more 'adult', nor does it add any type of seriousness to a story revolving around the theft of high-priced art (which seems like it might be kind of serious?)
Sadly, Twist is an opportunity wasted. With a legend like Michael Caine at the helm I had high hopes, but those dreams were quickly dashed by a mediocre plot, amateur acting and awkward character interactions.