A very loose adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, updated to present day London with Raff (son of Jude) Law starring in his first lead movie role as orphan Twist.
After his mum dies, teenager Twist spends his days scampering over London’s rooftops, spraying artistic graffiti in impossible places, and his nights napping in city art galleries. That is, until he is chased away and straight into the path of thief Dodge (Ora) and her pals, who take him to meet kindly criminal Fagin (Caine).
There’s a heist plot involving some expensive paintings, a posh dealer (David Walliams) and less-kindly criminal Sikes (Headey), a bit of romance in the form of Red – aka Nancy (Simnett) – but director Martin Owen never devotes enough time on either for them to be remotely interesting.
Instead, his camera spends way too much time filming Twist doing parkour stunts across the capital, which look impressive during the movie’s opening sequence but get tedious surprisingly quickly (Woo! He can jump over railings! Woo! He just jumped from one building to another! Again.)
And when the movie occasionally diverts from Twist’s acrobatics, it gets bogged down with leaden dialogue and London gangster clichés – you get the impression Owen has watched Guy Ritchie’s Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels a lot, but not enough to capture the fun of that film anywhere in his own movie.
Law is fine, and the reliable Caine does the best with what he’s given (though we’d all rather be watching him in the other Dickens’ adaptation he starred in, A Muppet Christmas Carol) and Headey does a bit of scenery chewing. Ora, however, once again proves she is a much better pop star than she is an actress, Walliams is miscast and poor Leigh Francis (as a traffic warden) looks like he’d rather be anywhere else than in this movie. Much like the audience.
Is Twist suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
This is a 12 certificate in the UK, mainly for some swearing and brief scenes of violence.
While the characters are occasionally in danger, there is nothing in the film that should disturb children over the age of 10.
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