Wednesday, August 18, 1999

Twin Falls, Idaho

Posted By on Wed, Aug 18, 1999 at 12:00 AM

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 features the two playing Siamese twins – Francis (Michael) and Blake (Mark) Falls, two natty looking guys co-joined, one assumes, around the area of the kidneys.

The film opens with 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, 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, since, 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 nor arch nor otherworldly. Penny falls in love with Blake, an impractical situation 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 sweetly sad conclusion.

Starting out like an edgy if low-keyed drama, it ends up being a fairy tale for softies.

Richard C. Walls writes about the arts for Metro Times. E-mail him at letters@metrotimes.com.

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