WBRi Movie Review: TWINS (2011 Independent Short Film) – Honorable Intentions With a Contract Killer

TWINS (English, 2011) - a film by Sounak Mukhopadhyay: Official Online Release (HD)

Film Maker Sounak MukherjeeCalcutta, Dec 30, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations) Independent and micro / zero-budget film-makers often release their movies online or direct-to-DVD. This concept, while extremely popular in Hollywood, is yet to find a firm footing in the Indian film industry. Thankfully this does not keep Indian directors from experimenting with their storytelling techniques. A whole new crop of indie shorts by young filmmakers has emerged in Calcutta and India that  are released online by their makers. Often, these films have riveting stories to tell and manage to keep viewers hooked for the entire duration of the movie. Sounak Mukhopadhyay’s (WBRi Interview) 8-minute English-language short film "TWINS", released on YouTube on December 18, 2001, is one such effort.

‘TWINS’ tells the story of a ruthless contract killer (Sanjoy Sinha Roy), whose professional expertise, while being far from honorable, earns him the appreciation and adoration of one of his friends, who also doubles up as his partner-in-crime. Just when all seems to be going fine with our protagonist smoothly completing his assignments with murderous (pun intended!) regularity, something rather bizarre happens to him. The expert killer finds himself unable to bump off his victims any longer.

The reason, you ask? It’s all because he starts finding little, yet significant, similarities, between himself and his intended targets. These common factors (a mole on the neck of one victim, a common mobile ringtone with another) seem to put the killer and his targets on a common platform and the former feels attached to the very people he is supposed to finish off.

The procrastinations of the contract killer cause great exasperation to his friend who coaxes the former to focus instead on the great differences that exist between the killer and the people he is assigned to murder. Buoyed by his friend’s motivational speech, the killer takes up a project to kill a lady who is different from himself in every possible way. Our protagonist does not meet with success in this seemingly foolproof assignment either, since he manages to discover a critical common factor between the victim and himself; both of them ‘breathe’.

The very idea of finishing off a fellow human being becomes so revolting to the killer that he leaves the scene even when he had his victim totally at his mercy. Disgusted, his friend calls him a ‘pathetic loser’ and shoots him. The killer has a chance to retaliate, but chooses not to do so, since he is no longer able to take another human life.

‘TWINS’ approaches a pertinent social and political issue in an innovative manner. Director Sounak Mukhopadhyay deserves a round of applause for showing ample flair and courage to taking up the tricky task of delivering a relevant message via his short film. With a production budget that, of course, does not run into crores, he manages to give a relatively sleek look and feel to the movie.

When a social message is being passed on through a short film, it is absolutely imperative that the leading characters deliver strong, poignant performances. Unfortunately Sanjoy Sinha Roy with his deadpan features and flat, disinterested style of dialog delivery, looks more like a business executive who has been handed an unattainable project target, than a stylish and acclaimed (in some dubious circles, at least!) contract killer. Neither is his backstory believable, nor is his desperation and inner conflicts portrayed in an effective manner.

His friend sports stylish glass rims and mouths inane dialogs, some of which fail to connect with the audience (sample this: “We’re socialists. They’re not. Kill them”!!). The rest of the cast either only has to widen their eyes and gasp while being chloroformed or, for some inexplicable reason, stand perilously on the edge of a highway while talking on phone.

While the makers of ‘TWINS’ had a decent story to tell, slack performances of the actors and, more importantly, the poor editing and screenplay of the movie dampen our enthusiasm. The typical Bengali accents of the actors in an English film do not help the cause of the movie either.

All in all, ‘TWINS’ is a decent attempt by a smart young film-maker at pointing out at the futility of fights, wars and conflicts, simply because a large chunk of the differences that we perceive between ourselves and our supposed ‘opponents’ is imaginary. However, the film leaves us desirous of improvement in the amateurish performances, cringeworthy dialogs and a lulling screenplay.

Worth a watch? Maybe, but only just!

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