Based on the well-known novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, here we have a new modern style on the classic tale. The film introduces us to Oliver Twist (or Twist for short), who grows up with his mother when he was a child. His mother was a talented painter, and she always appreciated good art. She also taught Twist to paint and encouraged him to have an appreciation for high-quality paintings. Unfortunately, Twist’s mother dies, and he becomes an orphan living on the streets.
He gets by doing petty crimes and spraying his talented artwork around the city of London. When police chase him, Twist is uncatchable thanks to his masterful use of parkour. But things are about to improve for Twist when he is invited to join a group of young free runners who are thieves, robbing and targeting the bad guys. For Twist, he has just discovered a new welcoming family, and life seems too good.
I can appreciate someone taking a classic like Oliver Twist and delivering a modern spin on it. This could introduce the well-known story to a generation who perhaps have never heard it. I can also appreciate this is a whole new film rather than just being another remake.
But sadly, Twist is quite an odd and messy film. Firstly, it seems to be unsure who its audience is. With teenager dialogue and teens conducting heists contrasting with seeing people getting shot and foul language, it is impossible to understand what Twist was aiming for as a film and for who.
The first half of Twist was somewhat passable, delivering a light-hearted bit of fun. Any minor issues I had with the film were generally forgiven. However, once this film crosses the halfway mark, it becomes an entirely different film. Twist crumbles and falls apart: weak heists, uninteresting romance and a predictable villain who is also the blandest and dullest character in the entire movie. The parkour aspect is a great idea, but thanks to several edits and cuts, it feels as though the cast is not doing any of the work themselves, and the edits are entirely distracting and challenging to watch.
Overall, while I adore the idea of a modern film of Charles Dicken’s Oliver Twist, the film fails to be memorable and deliver a compelling story. The film is quite passable during its first half but falls apart after the halfway mark. This movie consists of weak characters, a cringe-worthy villain, messy and frustrating edits, and a film that feels messy, all mashed together. The potential for a tremendous film is undoubtedly here, but sadly, please, sir, I don’t want more.
Twist (2021) is Now Available in Australian Cinemas!