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REVIEW: Inverness Film Festival – The Silent Twins (18)

By Hector MacKenzie

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Three stars

The Silent Twins.
The Silent Twins.

Director Agnieszka Smoczynska's ambitious film casts Letitia Wright and Tamara Lawrance in the roles of real-life identical twins, June and Jennifer Gibbons.

The sisters grew up in Wales and became known as 'the silent twins' because of their refusal to communicate with anyone but each other.

The screenplay is based on the book written by Marjorie Wallace – and I left the screening feeling that I'd need to read the book to get a true handle on the story.

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The pair developed their own language, effectively creating a barrier with the rest of their family and anyone outside their bubble. They became virtually catatonic when separated.

The girls indulge in a spree of vandalism inspired by an American boy they both idolize, resulting in them being sentenced to Broadmoor, where they face the choice to separate and survive or die together.

Smoczynska uses some inventive flights of fancy to get inside the girls' minds with animation used to good effect and a nice sequence where their rather grim black and white existence suddently becomes technicolour as their imaginations spread their wings.

It's a compelling if somewhat over-long watch that you sense might have benefited from some tighter editing and a little more thought about explaining what is happening and why. There's little development of the characters of close family members which might have been used to add a fresh perspective and help aid empathy.

The Silent Twins is likely to polarise opinion but ultimately fails to maintain interest over its near two-hour duration.

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