Twist is billed as a British crime drama and a modern day take on Charles Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist, but what it actually is; is excrement disguised as a movie. Directed by Martin Owen (nope, me neither) and written by a gaggle of unknowns, Twist seems less like a nod to a classic book and more of a vehicle to introduce Jude Law’s son Rafferty Law, or rather; inflict him onto the world. The poster says Twist stars “Raf Law”, because nepotism combined with a posh name wouldn’t sell as well, I suppose. With Rafferty looking like the end result of Jude Law fucking Ryan Phillippe but without exhibiting any charisma or acting skill at all, what this flick shows is that rich white kids can become actors without possessing any talent as long as their parentage is of the Hollywood persuasion. Back to the filmmakers responsible for Twist, it’s probably best we don’t know who the director or screenwriters are, because this film is so atrocious that it would be attributed to “Alan Smithee” had any of them been famous.
Twist opens with some meta-narration with our “hero” saying “there’s no singing, no dancing, and definitely no happy ending”. This dig at the 1968 classic musical is odd since this crapfest doesn’t sport the tone of the 1948 classic film adaptation either. The direction instead looks like a wannabe Gareth Evans slash Guy Ritchie picture but with markedly less talent. This is hardly Gangs Of London or Snatch despite Martin Owen wishing he was making a watered-down version of either. Aside from the movie’s look, Oliver Twist is now a graffiti-spraying, parkour-jumping twat; an “update” nobody asked for.
With periodical musical-rackets interrupting scenes, coupled with the aforementioned parkour, cliched youth-slang, and record scratches, this flick is so out of touch with popular culture that you wonder how it got past the storyboard stage. When the Dad-Hop or Dad-Punk subsides, there’s Britpop and general Poppy-pish offending your ear-holes; with Cast’s “Alright” playing during the opening credits, CLiQ featuring Ms Banks and Alika’s “Anything I Do” playing during a chase scene, and RESPONS’ “Blood Red” playing during a love scene. The shite soundtrack, woeful costumes and sets, crap acting, and a plot you couldn’t care less about, means everything here is dire. Twist looks like sumfink even BBCIII would turn down.
Aside from Jude Law Jr., the film stars Michael Caine as Fagin (fresh out of Tenet but with his false teeth seemingly fixed) Islamophobic 300‘s Lena Headey is Sikes, and Rita “shit at music and movies” Ora is Dodge. Leigh Francis aka Keith Lemon plays a traffic warden and David Walliams plays Mr. Losberne giving Twist a very mediocre TV aesthetic. The inclusion of David Walliams and Noel Clarke as Brownlow means the cast also feels like a contractual obligation for Sky’s clique of stars.
Speaking of Sky, this is another one of Sky Cinema’s Originals. Sky Cinema Original Films or Sky Originals as they’re now known, are for the most part shite. There was the above-average blip of Hotel Mumbai and the aforementioned Gangs Of London if we’re including TV shows, but my lasting memory of a Sky Original is the utterly garbage Four Kids And It which was similarly a vehicle for Lily Allen’s half-sister Teddie-Rose Malleson-Allen so she could get her talentless foot through the nepotistic acting door. The similarities don’t just end there. We once again have the waning talents of Sir Michael Caine, so-called comedian Keith Lemon as a traffic warden is akin to seeing Russell Brand and of course, instead of Cheryl Tweedy or Cheryl Cole or whatever her name is, we have Rita Ora who resides in the same stable of UK Pop detritus. With such a lacklustre cast, you’d at least expect the story to be better. I mean at least make the thievery on par with classics like The Sting, Mission Impossible or Caine’s own The Italian Job, but instead of a fun-packed heist movie we have CBBC or CITV-level shenanigans.
Sky Cinema will distribute Twist within the United Kingdom (it’ll premiere on Sky Cinema tomorrow) and Saban Films will distribute within North America which shows you what kind of C, D or Z-movie this is. With cinemas closed in the UK (and much of the world) I suppose we should be thankful that streaming services and satellite companies are still offering us movies to watch to lessen the monotony of Zoom meetings and remote learning. That being said, it’s hard being grateful when a film is this poor, after all, we are paying to view it as part of our subscription. Aside from getting your money’s worth, the only reason to watch Twist is if you’re some kind of noughties masochist: maybe you like listening to shit-rock-meisters The Fratellis or Kasabian or maybe you want to see how bad Rita Ora’s acting is or hear her so-called comeback single “Flame”. This movie’s viewership can’t be that big however, given that it’s the twenties and nobody likes anyone involved. I guess Sky can at least expect Mama and Papa Ora or Law Senior to watch, or maybe even they’ll be too embarrassed to tune in.