Review: 'Twixt' finally gets its due in 'The Authentic Cut'
Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2023 at 4:57 PM Central
by John Couture
While re-visiting Twixt for this new "Authentic Cut," cheekily retitled 'B'Twixt Now and Sunrise,' I was unexpectedly overcome with emotion. I was in the minority when this film was first released in 2013 as I thoroughly enjoyed Francis Ford Coppola's work here and was excited to see if it holds up a decade later.
I daresay that it more than holds up. The Authentic Cut is actually about 10 minutes shorter than the theatrical release, but Coppola has only made the movie more intense with its new brevity. While there are a few additional scenes and a slight change to the ending, the film pretty much survives intact from its original release and I couldn't be happier.
When struggling supernatural fiction writer Hall Baltimore (Val Kilmer) arrives in an isolated small town as part of his book tour, he hears about the local lore of vampires and an infamous mass murder. Eager for inspiration, Baltimore is swept into a surreal fever dream of eccentric characers — from the oddball sheriff (Bruce Dern) to the ghost of a young girl (Ellie Fanning) to visions of Edgar Allan Poe (Ben Chaplin) — that forces him to confront his own troubled past. Written, directed, and produced by Oscar® winner Francis Ford Coppola, this personal Authentic Cut — available on Blu-ray™ for the first time — is a visually stunning work from a master storyteller.
First off, I'm not sure why Lionsgate is publicizing this version as the first time it's available on Blu-ray as the movie was released on Blu-ray day and date with DVD by Fox on July 23, 2013. It's true that this is the first time this cut has been released at all, so maybe that's what they were going for. I don't know.
But aside from that, I was initially intrigued when Lionsgate announced this title as I was sure it would be a sequel or perhaps some additional tale told in Coppola's dreamy world. After clarification, I was a bit confused as to why this movie would need a director's cut as I remembered really enjoying it the first time around.
But I was game to jump right in.
As I mentioned above, the first reaction I had was intensely emotional. After seeing Val Kilmer in Top Gun: Maverick, I didn't think I would ever get as emotional seeing Kilmer on film again, but I was wrong. Sharing a (little) screen with ex-wife (and Willow co-star) Joanne Whalley just brought up a well of emotion that I wasn't expecting.
As a child of the late 1970s and '80s, the natural act of aging in Hollywood is starting to take its toll. It's hard to see our heroes like Kilmer and Bruce Willis get old and break down. These were the superheroes of our youth and it always hits a little differently when you find out that your heroes are, indeed, mortal.
But this film was released in 2013 and Val Kilmer is healthy and every bit as charming as he ever was. So, in that respect, B'Twixt Now and Sunrise was a nice stroll down memory lane. In many ways, I started to notice a parallel between my own enjoyment of the film and Hall Baltimore's (Val Kilmer's character) pleasure of hanging out with Edgar Allan Poe.
So, much like Coppola getting to have a new experience with this film, I also found that this viewing was simply a revisit but rather a new journey with familiar friends. There's Elle Fanning, who really transitioned from child actor to awe-inspiring actress with her turn in this movie. I never would have been able to recall that Alden Ehrenreich was in this even if you put a gun to my head, but there he is in one of his first big-screen roles.
And of course, there is the gothic ethereal vibe that this film has become infamous for. The use of black and white (and all the grays) to showcase Baltimore's dream states is a powerful use of visuals to both separate the two worlds, but also connect them with the small infusions of color here and there.
That said, the real gem of this version and the reason you really should buy it if you're a fan of the movie or its talent is the Gia Coppola documentary as a bonus feature. It really adds so much value to the film and opens eyes to the creative process that Francis Ford Coppola is known for. It really should be on the curriculum of all film studies classes in school. It's that good.
B'Twixt Now and Sunrise is now available on Blu-ray.