Twin Town

on May 09, 1997 by Bridget Byrne
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   "Pretty, shitty city" were the words poet Paul Durden came up with as a suggested replacement for poet Dylan Thomas's tag "ugly lovely town." Both were in reference to Swansea in South West Wales, which is the locale for the story Durden has concocted with director Kevin Allen for the movie "Twin Town." It's a setting where there are no holds barred in terms of bad behavior, criminal shenanigans and obscene language.
   The plotline about petty criminals and corrupt cops doing themselves and each other down is nothing special, but there is vigor to all the characters, humor (both blunt and sick) to the storytelling, and energy to the acting and filmmaking. The experience is a bit like savoring a bad smell--the tendency to hold one's nose undercut by the desire to sneak just a whiff because there's something in the air that speaks true about life as a whole, and it might all point to a good laugh in the end.
   "Twin Town" is an intensely regional film th at, despite its heavy accents, speaks a universal language about human small-mindedness and resilience. All the actors clearly relish the chance to be seedy, lewd, rude, duplicitous, warped, crudely sexy, basically irredeemable, but somehow still people one might just about tolerate. Only now and then are the inside jokes from folks who know the scene too well and want to parody it a bit too much, visible in this colorful splurge of a stew into which has been thrown almost everything a "pretty, shitty" mind can dream up, including a dead dog and a massed Welsh choir.    Starring Dougray Scott, Dorien Thomas, Rhys Ifans, Llyr Evans, William Thomas, Sue Roderick, Jenny Evans and Rachel Scorgie. Directed by Kevin Allen. Written by Paul Durden and Kevin Allen. Produced by Peter McAleese. A Gramercy release. Drama/comedy. Running time: 99 min
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