Twist is a modern day take on the Dickensian tale Oliver Twist, where a young orphan is subjected to a life of poverty until he comes upon a family of sorts that takes him in. It joins the queue of numerous film adaptations since the book was first published.
A young Twist (played by Raff Law) has come to enjoy painting and learning about art from his single mother Molly (played by Sally Collett). After Molly dies, Twist runs away from the authorities and turns to a life on the streets. Over time, Twist has perfected the art of free running and it is this skill, that brings him to the attention of other street kids Dodge (played by Rita Ora) and Batesy (played by Franz Drameh) as he is on the run again from the police. Dodge and Batesy rescue Twist from a narrow escape with the help of a third member of their crew, Red (played by Sophie Simnett). Vanishing into the rooftops high above the city, the trio bring Twist into the centre of their universe – their home provided by surrogate father Fagin (played by Michael Caine), a converted den full of stolen goods.
Fagin is first suspicious of the new arrival. Both Dodge and Batesy report his acrobatic talents and believe Twist would make a valuable addition to their crew. Fagin, both leader and Yoda-like elder, warms to the idea, but Twist does not. He’s comfortable living life on his wits which Fagin denounces with a few well-trodden cliches. Twist is undeterred and leaves.
Twist has their attention: later that night, Fagin and crew watch as he paints a huge mural on a building. Fagin sends Red – also a skilled free runner – off to coerce him back to their den for dinner. When Red appears, Twist discovers Red is a girl and having witnessed her running skills earlier, he becomes enamoured with her. Of course he accepts the dinner invitation where he will learn the extent of the ‘family’ relationships and where the stolen goods come from. At the end of the meal, Fagin makes him an offer too good for Twist to pass up – a place in the team for their biggest heist yet.
Later that night, Sikes (played by Lena Headey) shows up at Fagin’s den. If you’re not familiar with the tale, Sikes’ place in this telling of it, is a bit of a mystery. Sikes knows about their next job involving art dealer Losberne (played waspishly by David Walliams) and wants in. What comes next is a convoluted plan that you’ll need to pay some attention to follow.
Brimming under the surface are some dark themes, but they are mere seconds on screen. It’s light fare with additional sequences from Leigh Francis (Keith Lemon) as traffic warden Bumble. The free-running scenes liven up the action and the London cityscapes will keep wanting travellers interested.
Twist is screening now. Check your local guides for screening times.
Length 90 mins
Directed by Martin Owen
Written by John Wrathall, Sally Collett
Stars Raff Law, Sir Michael Caine, Lena Headey, Rita Ora, Franz Drameh, Sophie Simnett,
David Walliams, Jason Maza, Noel Clarke