A New Twist for Oliver Twist
T. Halkin | Munich, Germany | 11/08/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"What really makes this low-budget, indi film are the magnificent performances of this highly talented ensemble cast. Seth Michael Donsky, who wrote and directed it, had an excellent idea: set Charles Dickens' classic "Oliver Twist" in contemporary New York City. God knows, not much has changed since Dickens wrote his socially critical study of a young orphan boy, caught in the grips of an unfair society. With the low-budget that Donsky obviously had, he makes a valiant attempt at creating a visually dark and atmospheric montage of the underbelly of modern urban society. He doesn't always succeed, and the film is at points muddled, but the ultimate effect is strong.The Twist: "Oliver", or as he's called here, Lee, has run away from an abusive foster home and fines comfort and shelter from the elderly street performer, Can Man (beautifully played by Ray Aranha). Can Man teaches him about dreams being the basis of hope, and how you must keep your dreams safe. After Can Man is brutally murdered by a gang of thugs, Lee is comforted and brought "home" by Fine Art - a cute take off on "The Artful Dodger". Fine Art (Jean Loup Wolfman gives an eerie performance) is a young call-boy living in Andre's all-male brothel. The elderly Andre (no less than William Hickey) is the story's Euro-trash version of "Fagan", who is reliant on Eddie (akin to "Bill Sykes") for the house's supply of drugs. Eddie (a scary performance by Anthony Crivello) has a fairly large revere in the city under his control. He pimps his boys and runs his deals, and no one gets in his way and lives to tell about it. Angel (a beautiful and sensitive performance by David Norona) is Eddie's "Nancy". All Angel wants out of life is to make Eddie happy, and become a serious musician. The first is impossible and the later doesn't suit Eddie.Angel meets Lee at Andre's and take an instant liking to the child. He starts meeting Lee regularly to give him piano lessons. Andre of course, has a different career plan in mind for Lee and sends him out with Fine Art to learn the delicate art of hustling. Unfortunately, they hustle an undercover cop, who snaps Lee and turns him over to the juvenal authorities. Eddie and Andre fear what Lee might say, and strong-arm Angel into "kidnapping" him from the police.In the end, Angel - along with his best friend, the drag queen, Shiniqua (Billy Porter is worth the price of the video), make a daring attempt at saving Lee's life while risking their own.Independent movie-making almost at its best!"
The best bad movie ever!!!
candyapples | 05/30/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have to admit I had some reservations when I first viewed this masterpiece but thankfully I was not disappointed. William Hickey was a godsend to this movie and the extra/grip - Shandy Bollman was Fab-u-lous! The other actors, while extremely talented, were munching the scenery like cows on grass. Get ready Mystery Science Theater - You MUST watch this movie!!! It has everything New Yorkers love - drag queens, drugs, homeless people and hookers. Get Twisted!!!"
candyapples | Daly City, CA | 07/14/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I wanted to like this movie so much more than I actually did. Unfortately it was pretty much a mess from beginning to end.
A great performance from Anthony Crivello though."