Movie Review : Twisted Sister (2012)
My rule of thumb for for heist movie is: don't watch any heist movies (unless they come highly recommended). I've seen so many of them and the world changed so much since it bank heist and organized crime ripoffs were cool, it became hard for me to empathize with characters dumb enough to believe it's a smart way to get rich in the twenty-first century. Film director Paul von Stoetzel earned my trust with movies like Your Blind Spot and In the Kitchen With... though, so I decided to watch a long-lost heist short from him called Twisted Sister, based on a short story by Jeff Shelby. Given that it was bite-sized (seven minutes or so), it managed to hit me under the belt a couple times.
The story of Twisted Sister is unclear, but it's what makes its charm. It opens up with two women: Brittany (Kendall Thompson) and Anastasia (Erin Johnson) fighting in a parking lot over a botched criminal job of some sort. Brittany is upset that her colleague opened her big, fat mouth to a guy named Wayne (Jasper Morgan) about what they were pulling off and orders immediate execution. She tells Anatasia they need to get rid of him in order to safely vanish. It's never really clear what happened prior, but it involved Brittany shooting people and placing the two women in a precarious legal situation. The viewer is the put against a moral choice: would you take responsibility for your own ambitions and greed if you had failed to live up to them?
What makes Twisted Sister fun is not what it says, but how it goes along saying it. I'm sure people who are as experienced as I am with the synopsis I just gave can tell you exactly what happens in the end. I mean, the female perspective is a lot of fun. The characters are torn between more feminine, nurturing impulses and their most primal violent instinct and that was great too, but what makes Twisted Sister is how Paul von Stoetzel subtly alludes to what is about to happen as the movie goes along. Every detail in this seven minutes short is important and several stylistic decision such as lighting and the characters' placement on screen raise questions with the audience and make it a compelling viewing. Twisted Sister's visual storytelling is really what makes it come together.
So, where can you find Twisted Sister? It's a great question. The problem with short films is their availability, but I have a suggestion: if you guys are interested in Twisted Sister, In the Kitchen With... or my personal favorite Your Blind Spot, I invite you to write a message on Killing Joke Films' Facebook page and ask them to organize a screening, whether it's online or in a city near you. Paul von Stoetzel is a filmmaker with a signature style influenced by grindhouse cinema and European genre directors such as Nicolas Winding Refn. Twisted Sister would've definitelty not worked as well on screen if he hadn't been him who adapted it. It's a fun, compelling short film that doesn't require much of your time and attention. It's not perfect, it's a little predictable by nature but von Stoetzel does an amazing job at confronting this problem in creative ways. Check it out!