Plot: What’s it about?
It must be nice to be Francis Ford Coppola. To get drunk, then awaken and transcribe as much as you can about a dream you just had and then say “I’m going to make a movie about this.” Truthfully dreams are extremely interesting, but I don’t know if we’d all go to the extent that Mr. Coppola did and would actually write and direct a movie about one. Then again, we’re not him. Of course the name Coppola stands among some of cinema’s greats like Welles, Spielberg and Wyler to name a few. The man is responsible for both Godfather films, The Conversation and Apocalypse Now just to name a few. So if, at 70+ years of age, he wants to write a direct a movie and wants to pay for it out of his own pocket – who’s going to stop him? Add to that the casting in that I find it hard to believe a more varied cast than Elle Fanning, Val Kilmer and Bruce Dern. I sit here writing, ironically enough, with a glass of Coppola’s Merlot from his vineyard in Northern California. Was this fate?
The movie actually has a few different plot lines and I really wasn’t that sure as which one to follow. Nevertheless we meet Hall Baltimore (Val Kilmer), a “bargain basement Stephen King” as the sheriff (Bruce Dern) calls him. He’s a promising author who refuses to write another book about witches, which would give him the financial freedom to write what he really wants. But he’s in a hardware store in Swann Lake trying to sell his book. He meets up with the sheriff who seems to have a weird passion for some local murders, all of which involve a wooden steak. We then follow Hall into some sort of “dream like” state in which he meets V (Elle Fanning), an etherial teenager dressed in all white. Add to the mix there’s a clock with seven faces (none of which seems to tell the real time), Hall’s conversations with Edgar Allen Poe (Ben Chaplin) and it really seems to deteriorate into a stream of nothingness.
I’m not knocking Coppla as a filmmaker. He’s proven himself time and again and odds are that a hundred or so years from now, the Godfather films will be remembered as some of the best that were ever made. I can accept that he tried to turn his dream into a reality, but this film is just all over the map. While it’s good to see Val Kilmer in films again (he’s been out of the “A” list market for over a decade now), he just seems out of place here. Of note, Twixt is supposed to be a horror movie of which Coppola is a big fan. He did helm the 1992 remake of Dracula, which had some very good elements. Still, I wasn’t ever really genuinely scared, rather I was perpetually frustrated as I was trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Does Coppola have another good movie or two left in him? I’m sure. Twixt, however, wasn’t one.
Video: How does it look?
Regardless of what I thought of the film, I do have to give some credit to the visual sense and style of it. Framed in a very odd 2.00:1 aspect ratio, the AVC HD image is one of the most unique I’ve seen in a while. While it’s more minimalistic than films like Upside Down or Melancholia (those I’d compare it to), it’s also a bit inconsistent. The film is very dark, and while black levels seem solid in one scene, they’re a bit jagged in others. Elle Fanning’s stark-like appearance gives the film a very etherial look and feel to it and the use of spot color (like a red rug in an otherwise black room) is interesting to say the least. Still, some of the daytime scenes look a bit on the stock footage side and even though the film was shot on Coppola’s estate in Northern California, some scenes just felt a bit…off. There’s really no other way to describe it.
Audio: How does it sound?
Though the disc sports a DTS HD Master Audio mix, I really was hard-pressed to find much to crow about. Granted, there’s nothing that really stood out as being extreme, but by no means is it a bad mix. Vocals are strong and crisp, with Val Kilmer’s deep, yet pleasing tone carrying throughout. The front stage shoulder the burden of most all the action (and as you’ve guessed, there wasn’t that much). While not too active, the surrounds do come into play a few times during the film. All in all, it’s a bit underwhelming, yet manageable mix.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The only supplement of note is “Twixt – A Documentary by Gia Coppola” in which we find Francis Ford Coppola’s granddaughter, a recent college graduate, who has pieced together some on and off set footage from the shoot. Yes, evidently every member of Coppola’s family is somehow involved in film.