Friday, October 29, 1999

Paired down

Movie: Twin Falls Idaho

Posted on Fri, Oct 29, 1999 at 4:00 AM

Our Rating: 2.50

"Twin Falls Idaho" is a somberly paced but very slight and sentimental reverie on fraternal bonds and the pain of letting go. Directed by Michael Polish, who co-wrote the screenplay with his twin brother Mark, the film has the two sibs playing Siamese twins -- Francis (Michael) and Blake (Mark) Falls, two natty looking guys who are conjoined, one assumes, around the area of the kidneys.

As the film opens, a prostitute named Penny (Michele Hicks) -- a very movie kind of prostitute, all translucent blue eyes and waif-like features -- arriving at a rather sinister hotel, one that's complete with an ancient elevator man and spooky, underlit corridors. When she finds out that her clients are the Falls brothers, she quietly freaks and leaves at the first opportunity, only to shortly return, remorseful over her unprofessional discrimination. And why not? Apart from their little peculiarity, the two brothers look like they just stepped out of GQ, albeit on three legs.

Despite the lightly felt influence of David Lynch and the Coen brothers on these opening scenes, it soon becomes apparent that the thrust of the tale is neither eerie, arch nor otherworldly. Penny falls in love with Blake, an impractical situation that's made worse by the fact that Francis is ill, perhaps fatally. This would seem like a promising premise, with the healthy brother torn between his commitment -- both physical and emotional -- to his ailing brother and his desire to respond to a compassionate woman (the prostitute aspect pretty much disappears from the story after the opening encounter). But the movie doesn't deliver.

Instead, with the somnambulistic acting of its three main characters leading the way, the film drifts dreamily toward its conclusion. Starting out like an edgy if low-keyed drama, it ends up as a sweet fairy tale for softies.



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