"Do you ever feel alone?" Blake Falls's new friend Penny asks him.
Although not an unusual question for most people, Blake, being conjoined
to his brother Francis, has never been asked that question before. Most
queries he gets are more intimate and crude.
The incredibly talented brothers, Michael and Mark Polish, in their
feature film debut in TWIN FALLS IDAHO, play Francis and Blake. They
co-wrote the script, and Michael directed the movie. In her film debut,
fashion model Michele Hicks gives a passable performance as Penny.
The Falls brothers, with two heads, three legs and two arms, are
visiting the big city for a reason which isn't completely clear until
the end. The deliberately slow movie, which is told in whispers and low
voices, is a tragedy with comedic overtones. With heavy, soulful flute
and clarinet solos and filmed in dark, somber colors, the picture has a
The young men move with an awkward delicacy. Questions posed to them,
when both are awake, are answered only after the two have consulted in
whispers. Their collective answer is spoken with one head but two
When Francis is asleep, Blake is able to speak for himself. "Maybe I'll
call you when I'm single," Blake tells Penny once with prophetic
Part of the movie deals with the brothers' intense and unusual mental
bonding. Another concerns the more sensational aspects of being what
used to be called Siamese twins.
The middle section of the story happens conveniently at Halloween. "It
is the one night of the whole entire year that they are normal," Penny
explains to her girlfriend at a Halloween party.
A gay man at the party, who has shoulder-length blond hair on one side
and short black hair on the other, tells Penny that he's like the twins.
"You don't think I can identify with them?" he asks. "I've got a woman
inside of me screaming to get out."
The cheapest scene of all occurs when Jay (Jon Gries), "an entertainment
legal advisor," drops by Penny's apartment while she is out. Jay badly
wants to figure out a way to exploit them for financial gain. "A
disease isn't a disease unless it's marketable," he tells the twins.
When Penny arrives, she throws him out. As Jay exits, he has one last
question of his would-be clients: "Have I mentioned sitcoms?"
Even if the acting by the brothers is astonishing, the story drifts
hopelessly and is ultimately just a curiosity piece. A tender and
well-made one, but a curiosity piece nonetheless. The Polish brothers'
skills, on the other hand, are astounding, and their next movie is worth
TWIN FALLS IDAHO runs way too long at 1:50. It is rated R for brief
profanity and would be fine for kids 12 and up.
Copyright © 1999 Steve Rhodes