Twist review – try-hard reboot spray paints over Dickens' tale

Rafferty Law’s young hero is a graffiti artist and Michael Caine’s Fagin an ex-art dealer in this under-par update of Oliver Twist

Michael Caine already has the distinction of appearing in what many believe is the greatest Dickens adaptation of all time: The Muppets Christmas Carol, in which he played Scrooge. Now he is Fagin in this try-hard modern reboot of Oliver Twist, in which the plot and indeed meaning of the original has been jettisoned, leaving few of the characters – though the original’s tiny, sticky-fingered tealeaves are now promoted to supercool young adulthood. It never really comes to life and there’s a kids-TV feel to most of it, although the free-running scenes are watchable enough, and Caine’s disguise as a grumpy Russian plutocrat with a fake moustache raises some laughs.

Rafferty Law (the dead spit of his dad, Jude Law) plays Twist, a young graffiti artist who gets roped into street crime and finds himself hanging out with some cheeky but nonviolent young chancers in Fagin’s employ: a gender-switched Dodge (Rita Ora), and a character called Red (Sophie Simnett), who is in an abusive relationship with another gender-switched character, Sikes, played by Lena Headey. Caine’s Fagin turns out to be a former art dealer ruined by an unscrupulous competitor (enjoyably played by David Walliams), so Fagin plans an elaborate robbery to get his own back on this absolute rotter.

And so we are in caper-theft territory, with people disguising themselves as police officers, lowering themselves into lifts from a hole in a ceiling, spray painting over CCTV cameras and pinching Old Masters. Noel Clarke and Jason Maza are Brownlow and Bedwin, the flat-footed coppers on Twist’s trail, but hardly able to keep up with his parkour shenanigans. This movie’s not unlikable, but the action and comedy are under par.

• Twist is released on Sky Cinema on 29 January.

Contributor

Peter Bradshaw

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
The 88 movies we're most excited about in 2015
Think 2014 was a good year for film? Think again. This year is shaping up to be one of the classics. Here’s what’s on our radar

Guardian Film

06, Jan, 2015 @3:23 PM

Article image
Golden Globes 2016: Carol, Mad Max and Trainwreck shine in nominations
Expected nominations for The Revenant, Spotlight and Room offset by outside bets such as Mad Max: Fury Road, a surprise inclusion in best picture

Lanre Bakare

10, Dec, 2015 @2:47 PM

Article image
The Accountant adds up to a big deal at the UK box office
Ben Affleck action thriller tames A Street Cat Named Bob and Nocturnal Animals as Doctor Strange hangs on to the top spot

Charles Gant

08, Nov, 2016 @4:47 PM

Article image
'He's got the best banter': Rita Ora and Raff Law on working with Michael Caine in Twist
The singer is starring alongside Jude Law’s son in a modern-day remake of Oliver Twist. How did they find working with a film legend – and what did he think of working with them?

Ryan Gilbey

29, Jan, 2021 @10:00 AM

Article image
Cruella review – De Vil wears Prada in outrageous punk prequel
Aspiring fashionista Cruella is out for her boss’s skin in a riotous 101 Dalmatians origin-myth set in 70s London, starring Emmas Stone and Thompson in dynamic form

Peter Bradshaw

26, May, 2021 @1:00 PM

Article image
Hope in the dark: culture to make you feel less terrible about the UK election
You may be distraught at the result, or just want a break from politics – so find solace in our critics’ pick of 30 films, songs, books and more to hide under a duvet with

Peter Bradshaw, Alexis Petridis, Kate Abbott, Hannah J Davies, Richard Lea, Alison Flood, Imogen Tilden and Keith Stuart

13, Dec, 2019 @11:30 AM

Article image
Can You Keep a Secret? review – dull, strangers-on-a-plane romcom
A young woman opens her heart to the passenger sitting next to her in this unfunny adaptation of a Sophie Kinsella novel

Cath Clarke

29, Apr, 2020 @11:00 AM

Article image
The Bookshop review – boldly sombre drama puts Britain to rights
Emily Mortimer plays the quietly heroic shop owner at the heart of this fascinating Penelope Fitzgerald adaptation

Peter Bradshaw

29, Jun, 2018 @5:00 AM

Article image
Danny DeVito and Barry Sonnenfeld: how we made Get Shorty
‘Gene Hackman was scary as hell. At the premiere, he pulled me aside and said: “I didn’t think you had a clue what you were doing!”’

Interviews by Simon Bland

22, Feb, 2021 @3:27 PM

Article image
Best Sellers review – Michael Caine does the business in otherwise silly slush
Aubrey Plaza’s independent publisher must convince Caine’s curmudgeonly novelist to trot out another book

Peter Bradshaw

03, Nov, 2021 @12:00 PM