Hey, Danish kids grow up too!
In his second film, director Bille August (best known for the monumental disaster Smilla’s Sense of Snow) attempts to capture both his national zeitgeist and the perils of youth in one fell swoop. And he does, to some extent.
It’s 1963, and Beatlemania is sweeping Scandinavia, too. Bjorn (Adam Tønsberg) and Erik (Lars Simonsen) are part of a Beatles cover band, and they enjoy similiar noteriety as the real group. They even have groupies, which leads to a complicated love quadrangle, with Bjorn liking frizzy-haired Anna (Camilla Søeberg), Erik liking blonde dimwit Kirsten (Ulrikke Bondo), and Kirsten liking Bjorn. As the teens tiptoe their way into love, sex, and the parental deceit that naturally comes with both, jealousy, betrayal, and biology all conspire to get in the way.
At the same time, August doesn’t ever get sentimental, so those expecting an American-style coming of age movie should think twice. Twist and Shout is cold to the point of being depressing (and the title is awfully misleading). The moments of uplift in the film are rare, and they might lead you to believe that no one gets out of their teen years alive.
Reportedly the highest-grossing film in its native country ever, where it is known under the tongue-dancing title Tro, håb og kærlighed, American audiences will find Twist and Shout a curious counterpoint to New World teen dramas like Dead Poets Society and even Dirty Dancing — with which Twist and Shout unwittingly has a great deal in common. Oddly, this isn’t really one for the kids, though.
Comes in a two-disc DVD pack with August’s first film, the similarly themed Zappa (and actually a better movie).