Twin Falls Idaho

SHADOWS MUST SEE MUST-SEE


Joined at the hip. Conjoined twins Blake and Francis (Mark and Michael Polish) long for someone who will understand them...
dir Michael Polish
scr Mark Polish, Michael Polish
with Mark Polish, Michael Polish, Michele Hicks, Lesley Ann Warren, Patrick Bauchau, Garrett Morris, William Katt, Jon Gries, Teresa Hill, Ant, Robert Beecher, Jill Andre
Sony 99/US 4 out of 5 stars
Review by Rich Cline
A romantic drama about conjoined twins won't appeal to a mass audience, but Twin Falls Idaho deserves to be seen. First-time feature filmmakers Mark and Michael Polish have crafted a lovely little film that uses its central gimmick perfectly, bringing out themes and ideas that not only make us think, but also make us feel for the characters.

The Siamese twins are Blake and Francis Falls (played by the identical Polish brothers), celebrating their birthday alone in a seedy hotel on Idaho Avenue. It's Halloween, the one night of the year when they can walk the streets without attracting too much gawking. But the real problem is that Francis has a weak heart, a serious problem since they share several internal organs. They hire a hooker (Hicks) to help celebrate, and she's more than a little freaked out by the brothers. But slowly she grows to understand the world from their perspective--something very few people have ever done.

Told with a strong visual sense and a muted melancholy, the story is very moving as it gets into the minds of its characters. Quite a lot happens in the film, even though it feels like everyone sits around silently for most of it. And there's a continual stream of sharp humour running as an undercurrent. This understated approach filters into the acting as well, as the Polish brothers bring Blake and Francis to life with subtlety and warmth, while newcomer Hicks is excellent as the woman who finally breaks through their shell. Cameos from Warren (as their birth mother), Katt (their doctor) and Morris (a very lively neighbour called Jesus), add to the film's texture. And while it is slow and strange--like The Elephant Man meets Edward Scissorhands--it's also startlingly insightful as it uses the brothers', er, proximity to examine the nature of relationships and real love.

[15--themes, language] 4.Aug.00
US release 30.Jul.99; UK release 1.Sep.00

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2000 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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