Twist

Raff evading the Law
Verdict: 
6/10 - Twist is an enjoyable watch but the screenplay needed work and Rita Ora is unable to believably portray someone else.
Release Date: 
Friday, January 29, 2021
Written by: 

Rafferty Law stars as a grown-up Oliver Twist in this modern take on the Charles Dickens classic.

5

Charles Dickens' classic novel Oliver Twist has been brought to life onscreen many times - and we now have yet another version, one that's set in modern London.

This crime drama stars Rafferty Law as Twist, an orphan whose parkour and street art skills catch the attention of Dodge (Rita Ora) and Batesey (Franz Drameh), petty criminals who work for Fagin (Michael Caine).

Fagin takes Twist in and offers him a home and a family, but it comes with a price - he must help them pull off a big art heist against his enemy Losberne (David Walliams).

Twist also develops feelings for Red, real name Nancy (Sophie Simnett), and that puts him directly in the firing line of the loose cannon Sikes (Lena Headey).

Twist is completely different to the original Oliver Twist and it hardly ever felt familiar, which is good as it doesn't tread old ground or tell the same old story, but you also can't help but wonder what the point of connecting it to the famous novel was. If you changed the characters' names and some of the relationships, it has very little in common with it.

The film has an up-tempo soundtrack and lots of energy, but director Martin Owen seems to be more focused on the action and pushing the story forward than giving the characters depth or motives for their actions, or creating a screenplay that's easy to follow. The plot is pretty straightforward, in theory, but it was sometimes hard to keep up with the twists and turns of the heist, who had outsmarted whom, or figure out why Sikes was behaving the way she was.

Playing a Cockney geezer isn't much of a stretch for Caine, so even though this role wasn't exactly taxing, he was still perfectly cast as Fagin. Law - who looks so much like his famous actor dad Jude Law - was the likeable moral compass, Drameh was entertaining as Batesey, and Simnett should be the audience's favourite as she has the biggest heart. Walliams, who doesn't appear in film often, brings the comedy factor as the hapless victim of their scheme.

Ora, best known as a singer, never seems to be able to become her characters because she's too well known as herself. You never once think she's Dodge, you think "that's Rita Ora". Another cast member who let the side down was Headey, who went OTT with her menacing, out-of-control persona. Her performance wasn't believable, but this could also be down to the screenplay not giving us enough context about Sikes.

The classic Twist tale has been given a fresh, modern update, with gender-flipped and more diverse characters, and a LGBTQ storyline. It was an enjoyable enough watch, even though the story could have made more clear and coherent.

Available on Sky Cinema from Friday 29th January.

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