Deftly crafted with an authentic pre-punk soundtrack
Directors Fulton and Pepe get full marks for the rare feat of making a film where the fake-verite style is not a distraction and takes a back seat to the story and characters.
The film is very deftly crafted, especially considering the subject matter. After all, the film is about conjoined twins being sold to a music promoter who wants to make them into pop stars. (The mind boggles at the heavy-handed way such a story MIGHT have been told.)
And, yes, there is an actual meat and potatoes story here. The fact that these brothers are conjoined is key to the plot, but mercifully, it is NOT a one-note gag that the whole film is hung on.
The directors made many interesting and ultimately daring choices, such as shooting the film in a verite style. Unfortunately, this will beg obvious (but ultimately irrelevant) comparisons to other fake-verite films with musical themes.
Another interesting choice was shooting the performance scenes in what appear to be live takes, rather than having the actors lip sync to a studio recording. This seems like an insane choice because of the extra casting and logistic hassles. You'd have to find actors that could actually play, get them to practice together and then who knows if they'll be a decent band. But they pull it off. The music is authentic-sounding pre-punk--an undeniably raw and vital soundtrack. (I'll buy the soundtrack for sure. They could even put this band on tour and I'd go see them.) So, here's to insane choices.
There are modest, surreal sequences between some scenes, but the directors know when to say when on this. The art-house crowd (and the stoned) are thrown a bone. But normal people will not be left rolling their eyes or checking their watch. These parts don't feel like art for art's sake.
The casting is amazing. Using two different actors to play the older and younger versions of certain characters is yet another interesting choice. A few of the actors bear such a striking resemblance to one another that you may find yourself scanning the credits to see if they're related.
This is the first narrative film by these two directors and I wholeheartedly encourage them to make many more films.
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