Twin Falls Idaho

Twin Falls Idaho begins on an alluring and mysterious note, following a young Goth prostitute (Michele Hicks) to a room at the end of a dank, dilapidated hallway right out of Barton Fink. Behind the door lurks a pair of conjoined twins, played with remarkable timing and symmetry by 27-year-old identical twins Michael and Mark Polish, who know firsthand about the peculiar bonds and dependencies that affect this sort of relationship. Their early scenes together consciously echo the sideshow creepiness of Freaks and The Elephant Man, and it's a pleasure just to watch them share a piece of cake or pull off a folksy duet on acoustic guitar. But once the Polish brothers (who also co-wrote the script, with Michael directing) stretch the story beyond the confines of a one-room apartment, Twin Falls Idaho turns disappointingly maudlin and predictable. Stock characters, like Hicks' hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold and Jon Gries' two-bit exploitative lawyer, are matched by a lot of hammy visual symbolism. How many shots of the twins framed by bars were really needed for the Polishes to make their point? What about the grainy dream sequence in which they're separated by a vast canyon? What could that possibly mean? While it may be inevitable that the outside world will ultimately drive a wedge between them, it also spoils what might have been a more fascinating and intimate look at the day-to-day problems of being conjoined. The Polishes go to such great, humane lengths to show how much the twins are like everyone else that they all but lose sight of what made them, or the movie, special in the first place.

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