The Polish Brothers' "Twin Falls Idaho" is an example of an effective
independent film. With a cast of no-name actors, it shows us things
that we've never been shown before. In "Twin Falls Idaho" these things
are presented to us in an original and involving manner, for it is a
true independent film made with heart instead of money.
Yes, there is a real town called Twin Falls, Idaho, but it has nothing at
all to do with this film. Let me break down the title for you:
Twin- This film involves two brothers who are conjoined twins.
Falls- The brothers' last name is Falls.
Idaho- They live on Idaho Ave., in a city that closely resembles downtown
Real-life identical twins Michael and Mark Polish play, respectively,
Francis and Blake, a pair of conjoined twins living in a run-down
hotel. Penny (Michele Hicks), a hooker, shows up as a birthday
present, but Francis falls ill and she ends up staying and taking care
of them. Francis' health has been heading downwards, and the stronger
Blake is the one who keeps them alive.
Slowly, Blake and Penny become friends, and Penny begins to feel an
odd attraction for him. Francis, however, takes an instant disliking
to her; perhaps because he is jealous. After living about 20 years
attached to each other, Blake finally starts to think about how it
would be if he could be free, and not have to worry about
Francis. "I'll call you when I'm single," Blake says to Penny.
The relationship between the conjoined twins is very, very
interesting. As a character notes later in the film, their
companionship is like a marriage where divorce is not an option. Blake
and Francis are well-rounded individuals, but a thing like this makes
you wonder how some more hostile types can survive as conjoined twins.
The Polish Brothers have crafted a dark, but touching film. The film's
tone and story are offbeat, but surprisingly, it should be accessible
to mainstream audiences. There are many directions that this film
could have travelled, and a fine path was chosen. I was expecting a
more gritty movie, but "Twin Falls Idaho" has chosen to keep the
tension subtle. In this way, the film can be moving without being too
The performances of the two brothers are as effective as their
behind-the-camera work. They manage to convey, quietly, the long,
drawn-out suffering of two brothers who are together without a choice.
However, it is newcomer Michele Hicks, as Penny, who makes the most
affecting debut. Instead of being the hooker with a heart of gold, she
is a heart of gold who happens to be a hooker.
The Polish Brothers' debut film, "Twin Falls Idaho", is an
interesting, character-driven movie that may decieve some with its
dark tone. Praised at Sundance, the idea of "Twin Falls Idaho" may
strike some as too odd, but those willing to see the film will find it
a pleasant surprise; like a hooker with a heart of gold.
Copyright © 1999 Akiva Gottlieb