Published Feb 01, 2000There's a lot about this movie that is too studied and over-determined. For starters, it's called Twin Falls Idaho, and it's about conjoined twins named Blake and Francis Falls (way too cute). But it's easy to look past the thematic excesses and the patches of stilted dialogue, because the look and feel of this film is absolutely mesmerising. The visuals all have the dark, shiny quality of polished gun-metal, and the story proceeds at a careful, languorous pace that creates its own eerie kind of intimacy. Identical twins Michael and Mark Polish co-wrote and co-star in this film (Michael directed and Mark has the more demanding acting role). Neither of them is terrifically talented in the acting department, but they compensate rather effectively. Their characters both speak in paper thin voices, like they were on a respirator, and they exchange brief, inaudible whispers from time to time. Their gaunt faces make them look exhausted from having identities that are both shared and separate. On their birthday, Francis orders up a hooker named Penny (Michele Hicks) to their hotel room, and the three of them actually begin a caring, genuine relationship (movie hookers are so great), but it runs into a unique complication. Initially, Penny finds herself falling for both of them, and then, surprisingly, she realises that she's in love with just one.
Twin Falls Idaho is at its best in the hushed scenes of emotional discovery between Penny and the Falls twins. Model-turned-actress Michele Hicks rises to the occasion with a performance of great depth and sensitivity. It doesn't hurt that she has a face that is endlessly photogenic. Her soulful eyes, whether they're bare or ringed with black mascara, are the most compelling image in the whole movie.