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Film / Boy Called Twist

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"We'll call him Oliver."
"But what about Ollie? The other Ollie?"
"We'll call him Twist."

A 2004 South-African adaption of Oliver Twist. Directed by Tim Greene, the film reinvents the story of Twist, setting it in modern-day Cape Town, South Africa. Jarrid Geduld portrays Twist, a street-kid who comes to seek his fortune in Cape Town and is drawn into a world of crime while battling to find his way and start an honest life.

Provides Examples Of:

  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Monks, who, despite being one of the main antagonists, shows some goodness towards the end.
    • The woman from the home who names Twist is far kinder than the various women that handle young Oliver in the book, although she still forbids the nurses from getting attached to the children due to how many of them die.
  • Affably Evil: Fagin.
    Fagin: Have a delightful evening, Nancy.
    Nancy: Piss off, Fagin.
  • Anti-Hero: Dodger, who treats Twist as a friend but is willing to aid the villains in their schemes.
  • Anti-Villain:
    • Fagin, who is kind to the boys and welcoming to Oliver, but is secretly in league with Monks and is willing to crush anyone that could give him away.
    • Monks is portrayed far more sympathetically than in most other adaptions, showing some sympathy for Twist in the end and helping to save his life.
  • The Artful Dodger: the trope namer in the novel is simply called Dodger here.
  • Bad Guy Bar: Sikes lives above one, and the apartments serve as a brothel. Fagin also uses the bar for meetings with his associates.
  • Beard of Evil: Fagin.
  • Berserk Button: Twist attacks Noah for calling his mother a whore, even though he never knew her.
    • Sikes goes into a violent rage anytime anyone suggests someone might sell him out.
  • Big Bad: Bill Sikes.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Although the film has subtitles for the dialog in Xhosa and Afrikaans, there are still many slang words and exclamations that people outside of South Africa will be unable to understand.
  • Bitter Sweet Ending: Twist finds a home with Bassedien and his kind domestic worker, Francene, but the other boys are most likely trapped in crime and poverty.
  • The Bully: Noah and Sikes.
  • Break the Cutie: Twist becomes dangerously close to ending up a criminal on the streets.
  • Cain and Abel: In this version, Monks is Brownlow\Bassedien's brother and not Twist's.
  • Catchphrase: Averted. Catchphrases from the novel such as, "My dears," and "I'll eat my head" do not appear in the film.
  • Composite Character: Mrs. Corlet, who is a combination of Mrs. Mann and the Widow Corney, albeit a far kinder character than both of them.
  • Contrived Coincidence: as in the original novel, Twist ends up being taken in by an elderly relative who has no idea who he is.
  • Cool Old Guy: Ebrahim Bassedien.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: What Fagin and his boys want to do to Twist.
  • Crapsack World: Twist is abused and mistreated by almost everyone he encounters.
  • Death by Childbirth: Shamilla, Twist's mother.
  • Disney Villain Death: Sikes still falls from a rooftop and hangs from a rope, but he is shot by the police, rather than accidentally strangling himself as he did in the novel.
  • Dirty Coward: Noah.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: in one of the most famous fictional examples, he is beaten and sent away for being coxed by the other children into asking for more gruel.
  • The Dog Bites Back: When Sikes tries to kill his dog, Bullseye turns on him and leads the police to him.
  • The Dragon: Fagin. Although he is an authority figure and a chessmaster, he is intimidated by both Sikes and Monks and behaves in a subservient, sycophantic way to both of them.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Sikes has to force himself to shoot Bullseye, and ends up taking too long to actually succeed. Also, Monks will not let Twist fall to his death.
  • Evil Mentor: Fagin to Twist and the other boys.
  • The Fagin
  • Females Are More Innocent: Averted. Many women, such as Mrs. Brakwater and Sharlotte treat Twist as cruelly as the men do, and Nancy is shown to be quite savvy and tough.
  • Film of the Book
  • Greedy Jew: Averted; Fagin is now portrayed as an Ethiopian Rastafarian.
  • Heartwarming Orphan
  • Heel–Face Turn: Nancy is kind to Twist from the start, but when Sikes and Fagin threaten to hurt him, she outright betrays them to help him.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Nancy.
  • Jerkass: Beadle, Noah, Sikes and Fagin.
  • Karma Houdini: Fagin is seen slipping away during the police raid at the end of the film, while the cops are distracted going after Sikes. It is not shown if he got away or not, unlike in the original book where he was arrested and hanged.
  • Kick the Dog: Sikes aims a kick at Bullseye when he is taking too long to follow his master.
  • Leit Motif: Fagin has one.
  • Only Sane Man: Bassedien, who is both logical and kind while almost all the other characters act impulsively and are, for the most part, cruel to Twist.
  • Parental Substitute: Bassedien and Francene.
  • Precision F-Strike: Nancy's "Fuck you, Fagin!"
  • Race Lift: Twist, Beadle, Fagin, Noah, Brownlow (now called Bassedien), Monks, Dodger, Nancy and Charlie Bates.
  • Setting Update: Modern-day South Africa, although the film remains otherwise faithful to the original novel.
  • Shout-Out: Mrs. Corlet actually names Twist after the character Oliver Twist, as she uses book titles and authors to name all of the children.
  • Street Urchin
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Bassedien states that something about Twist makes him feel younger. This is most likely because the boy reminds him of his deceased daughter, Twist's mother.
  • Truth in Television: Fagin's gang of boys is played by a group of real South African street children.
  • Villainous Breakdown: After killing Nancy, Sikes becomes paranoid and frantically rushes about trying to get rid of any incriminating evidence.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never find out what happened to the other street kids in the end ( according to the original novel they stayed on the street, apart from Charlie Bates who reformed and became a farmer.)
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Bassedien's friend accuses him of being this when he trusts Twist with fifty rand and sends him to the shop in new clothes.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Bill Sikes.