Twist (2003)

Subscribe to Nick Stahl alerts

Facts and Figures

Reviews 2 / 5

Cast & Crew



Twist (2003) Movie Review

What would happen if you reimagined Dickens' Oliver Twist as a tale of modern-day teen hustlers cruising the nasty streets of Toronto? Twist sets out to answer this question, not that anyone was asking. In fact, Gus Van Sant already answered the question back in 1991 with My Own Private Idaho. Twist walks similar streets but in a tedious way that focuses more on beatings and squalor than on the emotional lives of its characters.

It's down at the donut shop that young Oliver (Joshua Close), a runaway who has grown up in foster homes, meets Dodge (Nick Stahl), a streetwise, hollow-eyed hustler who's always on the lookout for new recruits to present to the local pimp, Fagin (Gary Farmer). The thoroughly unpleasant Fagin, who usually greets his charges with a punch in the face when they return to the ratty hustler rooming house he runs, quickly brings the nervous Oliver into the fold. The only ray of light in this ugly world is Nancy (Michele-Barbara Pelletier), a friendly diner waitress who also happens to be the girlfriend of the unseen Bill Sykes, the terrifying mastermind who apparently controls the entire Toronto underworld, Fagin included.

Let the hustling begin. On chilly nights, the gang hangs on dark street corners leaning into car windows as johns cruise by. Oliver has the good luck to entice a senator who would rather talk than fool around, while Dodge, whose heroin addiction is making him sicker and sicker, mainly just gets beaten up a lot.

So that's 20 minutes. What is writer/director Jacob Tierney going to do with the next 70? Not a heck of a lot, as it turns out. There's more hustling, more heroin, more beatings, more cups of coffee down at the diner. The situation shakes up a bit when Dodge's straight-laced brother shows up to condemn him, an encounter that could be interesting but instead turns shockingly and unnecessarily obscene when, in exchange for money, Dodge agrees to his brother's demand that he demonstrate what he does for a living right there, right now, on his brother. My memory may be a little vague on this one, but I don't recall any incest scenes in the original Oliver Twist. Blimey!

Nick Stahl provides the druggy angst necessary for his role, and Joshua Close is appropriately wide-eyed and appalled as he learns the tricks of the trade, so to speak. But as Twist slowly makes its way toward its inevitable blood-soaked conclusion, it never grabs you by the throat the way such a darkly themed movie should. Maybe it's just that the Dickens overlay is too contrived. Maybe it's that Toronto isn't scary enough. Whatever the case, Twist doesn't engage. When you see it standing on the corner, you may as well drive on by.


Subscribe to Nick Stahl alerts


Twist (2003) Rating

" Grim "


More Nick Stahl

Bill Trailer

A young and ambitious playwright in the time of Queen Elizabeth the 1st makes the travel to London to showcase his wares. The young bard's...

A Little Chaos Trailer

In the palace of Versailles, a tremendous garden is maintained. One day, the builder and head gardener sees an ordinary woman arriving at the palace,...

Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy Album Review

The solo career of Mr Rice is not one you may realistically describe as that with which you may associate a prolific output. His is...

Backstreet Boys: Show 'Em What You're Made Of Trailer

In the late 90's and early 00's, The Backstreet Boys were the most powerful boy band in the world. After discovering that they had not...


George The Poet - 1,2,1,2 (Dismantle Remix) Video

George The Poet unveils an audio for the Dismantle Remix of his single '1,2,1,2', taken from the tracks Remixes EP. The track has been produced...

Perfume Genius - Too Bright Album Review

Ever since the release of his debut LP 'Learning' back in 2010, Seattle's Perfume Genius has attracted increasing attention both publicly and critically. His piano...

The Boys of St. Paul's Choir School - O Come All Ye Faithful Video

The angelic voices of The Boys of St. Paul's Choir School perform a moving rendition of classic Christmas carol 'O Come All Ye Faithful'.

Jamie Scott - Last Christmas Video

Jamie Scott of London duo GRAFFITI6 performs an acoustic rendition of Wham!'s 1984 festive single 'Last Christmas' in a black and white one-take video. In...