Twixt: Coppola misfiring on all cylinders

twixt-movie-poster-1

Twixt – 2013

Written and Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Starring Val Kilmer, Elle Fanning, Joanne Whalley, Bruce Dern, Ben Chaplin, David Paymer

Elle Fanning never saw it coming.  A chance to work with one of the most acclaimed directors of the latter half of the 20th century, and she should likely jump at the chance.  Val Kilmer might have brought her in, too.  He’s a long way from “I’ll be your Huckleberry,” and even further from The Ice Man.  I doubt she’d even heard of Bruce Dern.  To work with a master, though, is no doubt what brought this burgeoning starlet in front of his seasoned lens.  Did she read the script?  Did she think to ask, or was she even allowed to wonder if she could?  If she read the script, would she have the courage to walk away from a legend?

It’s hard to imagine the thought process that would bring someone to the point where they could direct a film like this.  His last three films were self-produced, like his friend, George Lucas does.  Unfortunately, they end up as good as Lucas’ films, without the production value.  The quality of Twixt is somewhere between high quality homemade porn and the Left Behind films.  At least it was well-received in France.

There is some entertainment value here.  Seeing the rotund Kilmer amble his way up the crisscrossing series of ladders leading to the 7-faced clock tower.  Who’s leading him up there?  Don Novello, of Father Guido Sarducci fame.  It’s even more fun watching Kilmer mugging a pretense of fear in a tight space, then falling though the ladders, then landing softly at the bottom.

There is this cool group of hip kids across the lake.  I think they are French.  Their leader has tears tattooed on his face, but not in that cool way.  There is that scene with the lemonade, in sepia tone except where the lemons are yellow and the blood is red.  Subtle.  Speaking of subtle, Bruce Dern is about as subtle as a pie in the face…every face in the world.

Watching Kilmer is like watching a dry drunk, who knows that he is more amusing, if only to himself when he downs a few bottles of wine.  He’s made friends with Edgar Allen Poe.  He calls him “Edgar Poe.”  When I see Kilmer slouch his way across the screen, I can only imagine how easy it would be for me to take his place in the B – movie trade if only I grew my hair longer and got a ponytail.

The real tragedy, though, is Coppola.  I can’t believe this is the same guy that directed The Black Stallion, The ConversationThe Godfather Saga (well, except for III), Apocalypse Now…hell, even Peggy Sue Got Married is better than this.  The Outsiders was pretty bad, but not this bad.

I look forward to what Elle Fanning can do in her career.  She has chops that her sister seems to lack.  She did little in this film to prove this, but I think sometimes the legend outweighs the talent.  Val Kilmer can stay right where he is.  I will visit him whenever I need to get a fix of Tombstone or Real Genius.

For Coppola, I have no words.  He has connected with me in the past, but I doubt he will do so in the future.  If we can’t expect an old boxer to retire, who’s to tell an old director to save his money and stop producing bad material.  At least he has an audience in France.

(no stars)

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