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‘Twist’ review: Please sir, no more

This is not the adaptation to watch.

As any fan of William Shakespeare can say, updated retellings are one of the best parts of following their favorite authors. Charles Dickens is another of the most adapted authors today. While there have been some great updated takes on literary classics, sometimes they fall flat on their face. Twist is a modern look at Oliver Twist. Unfortunately, director Martin Owen fails to make the story stand on its own while barely honoring the original.

The acting is a mixed bag. Riff Law plays the titular lead and is never able to find his footing. It is not so much that he is bad. More often than not, he just looks like he is in over his head.(This may not be a good sign for a career in acting as Twist has a pretty straightforward plot.) Everyone else merely exists, never leaving any sort of impression. This is a pretty impressive feat for a movie with Michael Caine and Lena Heady.

Twist tries to make a go of it with its own plot – aside from the names of characters, it has little relation to the source material. The main character is and adult in this version, for example. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it provides the writers an avenue for creativity. There are even some nice teases, including a love triangle sub plot involving Twist that frustratingly goes nowhere.

The biggest knock against the movie is how inauthentic it all seems. The movie tries to be cool by centering its story around graffiti artists jumping across rooftops, but it always seems hopelessly outdated. There are plenty of quick cuts, body cams and extreme stunts, but Twist always comes off as forced. It may impress the YouTube crowd, but it widespread appeal will be difficult.

Twist comes to theaters, digital, and on demand July 30

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