Twixt * * 1/2

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Director: Francis Ford Coppola.
Screenplay: Francis Ford Coppola.
Starring: Val Kilmer, Bruce Dern, Elle Fanning, Ben Chaplin, Joanne Whalley, David Paymer, Alden Ehrenreich, Anthony Fusco, Don Novello, Ryan Simpkins.
Narrator: Tom Waits.

Having crafted such classics as “The Godfather parts I & II“, “The Conversation” and “Apocalypse Now“, director Francis Ford Coppola was, rightly, considered one the heavyweights of cinema. However, he fell on hard times financially and most of his recent film’s have shown a shadow of his former self and have had people scratching their heads as to how someone so prominent could deliver such nonsense.

Hall Baltimore (Val Kilmer) was once a successful writer. His career has nosedived and he struggles to produce the material anymore. He comes to a small town during a book tour, and becomes involved in the murder investigation of a young girl. In a dream, he is approached by writer Edgar Allen Poe (Ben Chaplin) and a youthful ghost named V (Elle Fanning) who is in some way connected to a local murder. Both inform him of the details but the connection to the murder is unclear.

As this film opens we are given a growling narration from Tom Waits about a small American town and an introduction to it’s inhabitants and our protagonist. The first thing that strikes you is Coppola’s perfectly refined atmosphere and obvious ability in framing a picture. Quite simply, the film is marvellously shot. The angles with the camera are impressively positioned and use of light and colour are sumptuous. At one point he introduces a monochromatic approach that further adds to the creepy ambience. From very early on, Coppola’s talent is still apparent but where he struggles, is in a particularly poor script. It comes across as an amateur horror and on this front, you wouldn’t think for a second that it was Coppola behind it. However, despite the the bad writing, it’s clear that this is a very personal project for the director; the idea originated from a dream he once had, which reflects in the story itself and the actual death of his son (Gian-Carlo Coppola) in a speedboat accident also has a heavy influence. The very premise, consisting of a writer in rapid decline also mirrors the director’s similar creative downfall. At one point, our lead character is asked the question “how does it feel to the bargain basement Stephen King?” and that’s exactly the feeling that this film gives off – a bargain basement horror. Whether this was Coppola’s intention is debatable but it still doesn’t forgive the muddled unravelling of the story. All this being said, I still found myself persevering with it.

This left me with very mixed thoughts. One the one hand, it struck me as an absolute low-budget turkey but on the other, it intrigued me enough to keep watching. If anything, just see what path the once great director is now treading.

To look into another of Coppola’s recent efforts, my next stop will be his 2009 film “Tetro“.

Mark Walker

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26 Responses to “Twixt * * 1/2”

  1. Where did you even get to see this puppy, man? Is it out on video now?

    I attended the Comic-Con panel, because it was an opportunity to see Coppola… and the PANEL was a hot mess, never mind the movie. LOL. He was all over the road, mixing clips live, having technical difficulties…

    But Coppola and Kilmer together were pretty cool.

    That said, I dont even think this ever hit theatres…

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    • I think it hit Europe this month in a few obscure festivals. I seriously doubt it will make any theatre’s though, it’s pretty amateurish. I got hold of it through an uploaded. In all honesty this may be the only way to get your hands on it. I’ve rated it higher than I should have. It pretty poor man but intriguingly poor.

      So did you meet Coppola and Kilmer then?

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  2. It’s a bit sad to see both Kilmer and Coppola stuck in below-par movies like this. Two great talents that sadly seemed to have burned out too soon.

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    • It is that Ryan. This really isn’t up to the standards that they are both capable of. However, I still couldn’t bring myself to rate it any lower than 2 1/2 stars.

      In cinema terms, it is a real bottom of the barrel affair but I found it interesting, if only to see how low they have reached.

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  3. i started this movie for about five minutes last night…

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  4. Good review, Mark! I’ll have to check this out at least for, as you say, seeing “what path the once great director is now treading”.

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  5. NIce review buddy. I’ll be watching and reviewing it this week so Ill be interested to see if I rate it any higher than you! I’m a huge Kilmer fan, Heat is incredible, he rocks in that, and Ive seen him get fat and appear in some awful films recently so I was holding out big hope for this. 😦

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    • Thanks man. In all honesty, I’d imagine most people will rate this lower than me. I was VERY generous with my rating. I only gave it 2 1/2 stars out of interest. It’s a very poor film. Brilliantly shot but very poor.

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      • Hmmmmm, and I was looking forward to watching it! Nah I’ve seen some other reviews and they aren’t kind either. Still, I have it ready to watch so I’ll suffer through it and post some thoughts. Gonna add you to my blogroll, doubt it will bring you much traffic as I’m new but hope you don’t mind?

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      • I’d like to hear to your thoughts on it. I’ll keep an eye out for your review.

        Yeah, I’m up for the blogroll thing. I don’t mind that at all. Cheers man.

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      • Cool I’ll add your site at some point. Got some days off coming up soon so Ill get Twixt reviewed and try not to score it through Godfather/Heat tinted glasses. That combination should be insane, Coppola & Kilmer doing a horror film.

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      • Going by the end result, It was rather insane on both their parts. 😉

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  6. I have only heard of this movie in passing but I always saw it as a way for Coppola to pay his bills, which is a shame. It does sound interesting, though.

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  7. I’ve kind of always been a fan of “low-budget turkeys” so I’ll have to put this in my movie que.

    Like

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