Cert – 12, Run-time – 1 hour 30 minutes, Director – Martin Owen
A young graffiti artist (Raff Law) is welcomed into a group of fellow orphans, planning a high-profit art heist.
As we’re thrown into a parkour speed-run of modern-day London setting of Twist the audience is promised a tale with no singing and dancing. This is very much a different, and inevitable, loose take on Charles Dickens’ much adapted novel. Martin Owen’s film is filled with such moments as his central figure jumps, charges and escapes through the streets of the capital. While the seemingly Kingsman inspired moments do gain a sense of repetition as the narrative develops they still manage to hold an entertaining style, similarly held in a number of the montages and heist sequences that take place throughout.
Throughout the film we follow Oliver (Raff Law), going by the name of Twist. Left orphaned from a young age, after his Mum passed away, as an adult he mostly sleeps under the benches of art museums while spray painting what he views as art throughout the city. After falling in with Dodge (a miscast Rita Ora) and Batesy (Franz Drameh) Twist finds himself quickly becoming part of a family of orphaned thieves – led by Michael Caine’s Fagin – growing especially close to Sophie Simnett’s Red. Together they are planning a major art heist from under the nose of a key artworld figure, and former rival of Fagin, Losberne (David Walliams).
Cue multiple heist scenarios, sequences and montages set to some form of catchy pop-rock track to quickly move the plot along. The storyline itself may be flimsy and slightly tacked together, however the entertainment factor is still there. Even Michael Caine donning a thick scrubbing-brush moustache and faux Russian accent (sounding much like he’s doing a bad impression of himself) provides moments of amusement and one or two chuckles. The 12-rated tone and nature of some of the action and events does feel somewhat off-key, an f-bomb in particular definitely feels unnecessary. For what mostly comes across as a family film the not-quite-gritty nature of things does seem slightly odd on a number of occasions.
Yet, the film still holds an entertainment factor. Lena Headey as a gender-swapped Sikes is certainly having a good time relishing her villainous role and brings about an extra element of light thrills to the piece – which just about avoids the feeling of a Guy Ritchie inspired family film. This may not be the most perfect film in the world, and certainly isn’t overly along the lines of other Oliver Twist adaptations. However, throughout the handful of parkour sequences and heist play-throughs there’s plenty of amusement, amongst the misshapen plot and a number of clunky elements, to be found within this twist on Twist.
The 12-rated tone may at times feel as messy as some of the plot elements there’s certainly enough within the various, if sometimes repetitive, parkour chases and heists of Twist to keep things moving for most of the run-time.