The great Francis Ford Coppola and Val Kilmer teamed for the 2012 murder mystery, Twixt. The film may be more of a digital video experiment than a movie but it does feature a great performance from Kilmer and a kooky supporting role for Bruce Dern. The cast of Twixt also features Elle Fanning and future Han Solo, Alden Ehrenreich in early roles.
Kilmer plays Hall Baltimore, a low rent Stephen King type who arrives in small town to publicise his latest novel. He meets the local sheriff (Bruce Dern), a mystery fan who wants Baltimore to help him investigate a spate of vampire-style killings. During a dream, Baltimore meets V (Fanning) a young girl who may have a connection to the case. This relationship then forces the writer to face his past in an attempt to solve the case.
On the surface it sounds like Twixt might be a neat little thriller. However, Francis Ford Coppola doesn’t go down the traditional route. He mixes odd visuals into the film, creating a dream-like state that doesn’t lend itself to creating atmosphere. The digital photography doesn’t really spring to life and at times it feels like the film was shot over a long weekend as the director and Kilmer were hanging-out on a road-trip.
Coppola intended to create lives edits on Twixt, pulling different narrative strands together during screenings, changing the story as the movie went along. This never really came to fruition and now Twixt exists as a movie in its own terms. The residue of Coppola’s experiment remains, as the film doesn’t feel cohesive. Plot strands are left hanging and some of the editorial decisions leave a lot to be desired (some scenes are downright nonsensical), while some of the effects in this self-funded effort look cheap. It’s as if Coppola wanted to embrace the technology, but didn’t fully understand how to use it. It never really feels like he has a handle on the material or how to film it. Having said all that, it’s an enjoyable enough little thriller. It may be slight, but Kilmer gives a good performance as the downtrodden writer. The actor has a highly emotional scene towards the end of the film that again shows that he’s one of our great acting talents.
Twixt is a modern American gothic horror, infusing elements of Edgar Allan Poe (Poe appears as a character in the film played by Ben Chaplin) and Stephen King. Coppola’s artist pretentions may not gel with his self-penned material, but he does have enough good ideas and a great Val Kilmer performance to make this worth your time.