The hero of Twist is Dodge (Nick Stahl), a teenage hustler and heroin addict who ran away from his abusive home in Quebec. He meets and befriends the young and inexperienced Oliver (Joshua Close), who has just run away from the latest of a series of bad foster homes. Dodge brings Oliver to the dormitory where he lives with a group of other hustlers, under the direction of the pimp Fagin (Gary Farmer.) Fagin runs the criminal enterprises of the mysterious Bill, who’s never seen in the film, while Bill’s abused girlfriend Nancy (Michèle-Barbara Pelletier) works at a nearby diner and is kind to the boys.
Oliver soon develops feelings for Dodge, which Dodge reacts to angrily. Oliver finds a john who just wants to talk to him, whom the other boys start calling “The Senator” (Stephen McHattie). With Nancy’s help, he forms a plan to use The Senator to help him escape his life—but Dodge is resentful of Oliver’s aspirations for something better. Meanwhile Dodge’s brother, David (Tygh Runyan) comes looking for him. He finds him and tries to persuade Dodge to come back home, but Dodge refuses. There is finally a violent and sexual scene between the two, and Dodge is ultimately unable to escape his past.
“Perhaps Dickens wouldn’t recognize his characters transposed to contempo Toronto’s gay-sex-for-sale scene, but his crime-infested London in “Oliver Twist” was considered pretty radical in its day.”
— David Stratton, Variety
“This “Twist” on Oliver Twist is nowhere near perfect, but the empathy felt for the characters and the issues brought to light make it an interesting viewing experience that people should consider seeing.”
— Film Nerds Unite
Did You Know
Twist is the directorial debut of Jacob Tierney, who had been an actor since childhood. Tierney was 24 when he made the film, and was inspired to write the script after seeing a production of the musical Oliver! and wanting to create a film that explored Dicken’s original themes of poverty and cycles of abuse and violence. He was personal friends with Nick Stahl, whose fame helped to get the film off the ground. Review our Gay Themed Films Here