'Twist': Not-So-Artful Dodging
By Desson Thomson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 30, 2004; Page WE40
An intriguing idea for about two seconds, this updating of the Charles Dickens story into a contemporary Toronto where the pickpockets of Dickens's London become smack-shooting gay hustlers is a bum trip.
In writer-director Jacob Tierney's scheme, the Artful Dodger of Dickens's novel is Dodge (Nick Stahl), a street hustler with a junk habit who sells himself to passing drivers. He's part of a Gus Van Santish "family" of other hustlers. They're supervised by Fagin (Gary Farmer), a portly father figure; and the whole organization is run by the unseen Bill. Also in there is Nancy (Michele-Barbara Pelletier), Bill's wife, who supplies the nighttime boys with coffee and heroin.
Into this world comes Oliver (Joshua Close), whose innocence becomes a sort of catnip for everyone. Dodge, Fagin, everyone, even a certain cruising senator, are drawn to him. But it's hard to follow the rush to Oliver, who spends the movie looking down at his feet, or even care about the outcome. The movie's far too stagy and pretentious. There's little to redeem it except Stahl's credibly freaked-out performance as Dodge.
TWIST (Unrated, 94 minutes) --Contains drug use, sexual situations, violence and obscenity. At Landmark's E Street Cinema.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company