7 April 2006 | NJMoon
Twisted Beyond Recognition
Dickens' OLIVER TWIST gets yet another face lift in this modern re-telling set on the gritty streets of Manhattan. This update strays even further afield from the source than the Toronto-based TWIST starring Nick Stahl. Here even the names have been changed to protect the guilty, but there's still a trace of their Dickensian monikers left. Oliver is now Lee, a foster kid left to fend for himself on the streets (a young man who seems to be the genuine article, not an actor). The Artful Dodger is Fine Art - a bleached blonde, hard-edge hustler who'll do anyone for a buck. Fagin is morphed into aging mama's boy Andre (a creepy Bill Hickey). Bill Sykes and Nancy are here a gay S&M pair with Angel (Nancy) being Lee's...well...angel. The film has a gritty indie feel, but the most passionate character is a drag queen and it is hard to muster up any feelings for the others. Tony winner Elizabeth Franz does her best as a chain smoking foster care official; most of her scenes played in an odd flashback style that would better suit the stage than the screen. The tone is all over the map, with an unintentionally hilarious 'Dorian Gray' sequence involving Andre's Mother, an opera singing diva. Despite the buff guys (including stage thesp Anthony Crivello as the evil Bill Sykes character) the film wears out it's welcome, and the mind starts to mull over the merits of other film adaptations, this one near the bottom of the pack.