Twister (1996)

Let’s get this out of the way: Jan de Bont’s “Twister” is less a movie and more like a rollercoaster ride crossed with a basic soap opera. It’s obvious that de Bont’s focus is to root the characters in relatable situations – like an upcoming divorce, a new job, a workplace rivalry, etc – and then get to what he really wants to do, which is to rock the audience’s socks right off, and boy does he succeed. Deploying an arsenal of cutting-edge special effects, he manages to make the noise and fury of a tornado cutting a path through populated places feel so overpowering that your body physically reacts to it, without overwhelming either the audience nor the (admittedly threadbare) narrative. That thin narrative, which isn’t helped much by Michael Crichton and Anne-Marie Martin’s negligible screenplay, manages to be palatable thanks to an effective combination of impressively dexterous acting by an all-around first-rate cast, expertly sequenced editing by Michael Kahn, and a judicious use of music (both diegetic and otherwise) that all make up for the unimaginative plot.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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