TWIN TOWN, 1997
Directed by Ingmar Bergman
Cast: Victor Sjöström, Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulin, Gunnar Björnstrand, Jullan Kindahl, Folke Sundquist
Review by DJ Haza
Julian and Jeremy, two brothers known as the “Lewis Twins”, prefer to spend their time on drugs and joyriding. When their father, Fatty Lewis, breaks his leg working for local bigwig Bryn Cartwright, they show up demanding compensation. Underestimating the vicious humour of the twins Bryn brusquely refuses to pay for the un-insured Fatty and unleashes a ferocious feud.
Kevin Allen’s first outing as a Director is a rip-roaring story of drugs, bent coppers, thieves and family in the Welsh city of Swansea. The stories follows the Lewis Twins, played by Rhys and Llyr Ifans, as they steal cars, barter for prescription drugs and quiz each other as they smoke weed through a home made bong whilst sharing a bath. Life is anything but ordinary for these troublesome Twins. Living in two caravans with their father – Fatty (Huw Ceredig), mother – Jean (Di Botcher), sister – Adie (Rachel Scorgie) and the dog – Cantona, banter is a plenty.
Across town two of Swansea’s finest officers; Greyo (Dorien Thomas) and Terry Walsh (Dougray Scott) meet outside Swansea train station for a drug deal. As they wait they admire the Dylan Thomas quote on the pavement ‘An ugly, pretty town’. However, Terry Walsh refers to Swansea as ‘a pretty, shitty city’. Greyo is alarmed to see the amount of cocaine that Terry has ordered and thinks they are going to struggle to sell it, but Terry has big ideas. Another major player in Swansea is Bryn Cartwright (William Thomas), a local businessman who thinks he’s the big man in town.
When Fatty falls off a roof and breaks his leg whilst doing a job for Bryn the Twins think their father should have some compensation. They appeal to Bryn on their father’s behalf and are told, ‘take your sticky sticky and fuck off back to noddy land’. The Twins are not happy. Their revenge is swift and when the Cartwright’s family dog is found beheaded Bryn wants to send the Twins a message. In cahoots with Terry on the drug deal he asks him a favor – an eye for an eye, a dog for a dog. Terry’s bright idea to plant the Cartwright’s dog collar in Cantona’s dog house and then set to fire to it goes catastrophically wrong. The caravans catch fire and the Twins parents and sister are incinerated in the blaze. Now the Twins mean business.
As Bryn and Terry conspire to keep their actions quiet Greyo is seeking to find the murderer of the Lewis family. As Greyo thinks he’s close to finding the Lewis’ murderer Terry and Bryn blackmail him into stopping his investigations. They remind him his prints are all over the cocaine. However, when Greyo meets with Bryn’s wife, Bonnie, and she admits her suspicions of Bryn and that her and her daughter, Lucy, need to get away Greyo knows he has to do the right thing.
As family and friends gather outside the church to say farewell to the Lewis family the car carrying Fatty’s body goes missing. The Twins begin to hatch their final plan. Bryn is gagged and tied to the motorized garage door with a noose around his neck as the Twins steal his boat. When Greyo and Bonnie arrive at the Cartwright’s house, ‘the Ponda Rosa’, to pack her bags the garage door gets stuck. Greyo clambers into the garage to find Bryn hung.
On Swansea pier Fatty’s male voice choir start to converge. On Bryn’s boat the Twins have Terry tied to Fatty’s coffin and they push it off the boat as the male voice choir begins to sing. Terry’s body sinks with Fatty’s coffin and the Twins salute their father as they fulfill his wishes – to be buried at sea. With their vengeance fulfilled the Twins sail off into the night with dreams of Morocco and finding the source of their marijuana.
The comical Twins are fantastic characters with no redeeming features apart from their will to fulfill their father’s wish and seek vengeance for their losses. Terry and Greyo are absolutely clueless and Bryn is a small time idiot, but believes he is above the law. An array of other characters add amusement to the dark, yet comical story. Bryn’s daughter; who is sleeping with Dai the karaoke king, gets pissed on by the Twins whilst singing in a karaoke contest. Emrys; whilst walking his dog, buys a hotdog filled with magic mushrooms and marijuana off the Twins. Later he is seen cuddling a sheep in a field with his trousers around his ankles. Some hilarious Welsh dialogue including Dai’s – ‘as they say in Llandow, chow for now’ will keep you chuckling before the film takes a dark turn.
Twin Town is a fantastic little film of small time people trying to enhance their own lives in whatever ways are available to them. Every character is outrageously surreal, yet totally believable as they all try to enhance their own lives. Some deal drugs, some rob cars and others want to travel the world singing karaoke. The one thing they all have in common is that they all want more than what Swansea has offered them so far. Twin Town won’t be remembered as an art-house classic or a British blockbuster, but it will be remembered for it’s comical characters, fantastic dialogue and clever story. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but if you think ordinary life is not so ordinary and find regular people hilarious then you could do a lot worse with two hours of your time than watch Twin Town.