Saturday, October 20, 2012
I think Francis Ford Coppola wants back to something, someone, he was a long time ago. That's why he's focusing on small, low-budget movies with more personality than spectacular scenes. I respect him enormously for that and I wish him to stay like that for the rest of his career. For who the hell wants to see soulless films like The Rainmaker, Jack, The Godfather: Part III, yeah, everything he's made after Apocalypse Now. Not me. I prefer to see him experiment, play, be a storyteller again and not a teller of what the producers want for the moment. Remember, Bram Stoker's Dracula is just visuals and no passion. I like it, but it's more a gimmick than a story. I've more or less only heard shitty things about Twixt, but something deep inside me believed in it. I dug the trailers and I loved what I was reading, how it was made Coppola's crazy multimedia-interactive plans for it. That last thing never really happened, except one or two shows with Coppola doing some live editing and directly (what I've heard anyway). What's left is one of the oddest movies I've seen a famous director like Coppola do, maybe in the history of
- at least in this day and age when
no one dares to try something new. Hollywood
You can't set a genre on Twixt. Maybe just plain drama is the best, but it has some big parts horror and thriller, and not to forget: surrealism. But in the middle of everything it's a drama about writing and loss, about finding that creative fire again. The tone reminds - and I'm not the only one saying it - of
Twin Peaks, a Lynchian-burlesque with quirky, weird
characters doing going their own ways. The biggest character, except Val
Kilmer's, is Bruce Dern as the sheriff. He build bat houses. Not bird houses,
but bat houses and he likes to write crappy horror stories - and somehow
believe all the goth kids at the other side of the lake is evil and slutty and
evil and dangerous... and more evil, just because they wear make-up and dresses
The true acting highlight is Val Kilmer. I began to love Val Kilmer when he stopped being an ego-macho-silly- star and just became what he seems to love to do: a character actor. Kilmer is sensational here, both very funny and tragic. I got caught up in his emotions, and that means it works. He also shows us what a great impersonator he is in one scene, obviously based on ad-libbing, doing a perfect parody on Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now - which is extra fun because, of course, Coppola directed that movie and Kilmer later starred against Brando in the huge flop (which might have destroyed Kilmer's Hollywood-career) The Island of Dr. Moreau. Got a nice laugh from that scene. The quirky comedy is a thread through the whole movie and makes it even more Lynchian than they probably planned.
But it's the absurdity, the surrealism, that makes the movie even more strange. Long, oddly coloured dream sequences, a small town with six different time zones, a mystery that might no be a mystery at all, goth kids looking sad and Val Kilmer drinking a lot of alcohol. It's a very special movie, far from being mainstream or sellable. It must be a nightmare for distributors to sell it as a horror or a thriller, because it doesn't work as a normal drama - but yet not a normal genre film. It's in it's own little league and I think it's a damn fine little piece of cinema.
Some people, whining bastards, has compared it to a school production, a work of a newbie, a young and naive filmmaker. Connect that that what I wrote in the beginning of the text: Coppola wants back. He wants to be that experimental film student he once was. When people think it's like the work of someone who hardly have made movies before they're right on the spot and that's the f**king point with it all. It's a pure film, cleaned from that sentimental shit that was Jack or shallow goth-flirts like Dracula... not to forget just being a gun for hire with The Rainmaker.
It's Coppola reborn.