Francis Ford Coppola's TWIXT
Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
I started out this film not realizing Francis Ford Coppola made it just a few years ago. I knew right away there was something special about the look of the film, the editing, and the tight direction of even smaller establishing scenes.
The story sounds unremarkable: burned-out mystery writer comes to a small town for book signing and ends up getting pulled into the usual “things are not as they seem.” But that’s only the start. The further on we go the wilder things get. The ultimate payoff is not completely satisfying but the trip is well worth the ride.
Key players are excellent: Val Kilmer (the writer), Bruce Dern (the Sherriff), and Ellie Fanning (the ghost?). Dialogue is wonderful at times; here are two examples:
“So you’re the sheriff and you make bat houses?”
“Maybe we shouldn’t be doing this in the morgue?”
My chief complaint about the movie is that a major plot point is an old bugaboo of mine: children in peril. For example, a high stress situation for the Val Kilmer character channels a personal tragedy from Coppola’s own past, the death of his son. Kilmer plays it masterfully but knowing what might have been going on behind the camera makes the scene even more wrenching.
Coppola indulges himself in camera angles and spooky visuals that hearken back to his incredible Vampire movie. He also borrows liberally; one motorcycle sequence looks like it came from Sin City. But at the heart of that particular scene is Elle Fanning’s reaction to a vampire bite on her neck. Amazing.
Twixt is no Godfather or Apocalypse Now but it certainly rises far above the “horror” genre in which it’s generally categorized. It’s well worth viewing even when the parts are greater than the whole.
Copyright © 2014 by Dennis D. McDonald