What do you get when you mix Fight Club with Black Swan and add a dash of Whiplash? A wildly entertaining, high-tensioned film that’s crazy as f*ck. Here’s my full review of Joseph Abello’s ‘Double Twisting Double Back’.
WARNING: This review has SPOILERS!
If you haven’t watched the film, I suggest reading this right after. For those who have no means or plans of watching this film, or if you just don’t care, then read on, my friend!
The film follows the struggles and hardships of Badger (Tony Labrusca / Joem Bascon) as he tries to get back into the Philippines’ national team for gymnastics, while he is constantly disturbed by the demons of his past. The film covers some pretty compelling themes. It tackles a wide range of sensitive topics, from mental illness to sexual addiction. It also sends out a message to everyone about how little the government cares about its athletes, nor do they care about their mediocre living conditions.
If we’re gonna talk about being original, this film isn’t quite that. We’ve seen lots of iterations of this concept on the big screen, but it’s still refreshing to see a Pinoy film try something like this. Yes, it serves a different purpose and delivers a deeper message compared to the others, but it still is short of being truly original. The execution is okay, but overall, the film is a bit rough around its edges.
The film starts a bit slow, as it sets up the world of Badger. At times, it feels like the film has a few missing pieces, especially in the first act. It jumps right into its grand conceit, not warning the viewers of what’s to come. It left a lot of the moviegoers in the cinema where I watched this confused as to what was happening, but it may be easy to figure out for most of you, especially if you’ve seen the movies I mentioned earlier.
The film is at its best when it focuses on Badger and his two different personalities. In Badger’s most vulnerable moments, both Joem Bascon and Tony Labrusca shine, especially when the tension between them is amped up. It also helps that the two have great rapport in their scenes, and it’s quite fun to watch the both of them fight for the power to take complete control over Badger’s life. They both have their own merits in terms of acting, but Bascon definitely has an edge over Labrusca in that department.
The film would be worth watching even just for Joem Bascon’s performance alone, as the sex-crazed alter ego of Tony Labrusca’s Badger. Here, he goes all out and gets batsh*t crazy, which is so much fun to watch, but at the same time, it gets quite disturbing. A lot of scenes have him bordering on a thin line from crazy to logical, from hilarious to straight-up scary. While he serves as the antagonistic counterpart of Badger, you still understand why he’s there, and what his purpose in his life is. It is, in my opinion, one of Bascon’s best performances on film to date.
On the contrary, Tony Labrusca doesn’t really reach the level of intensity Bascon delivers in this film, wherein his biggest weakness, acting-wise, is when he starts to speak. He’s great in this film, don’t get me wrong. It just feels like there’s always a part of him holding back whenever he spits out his lines, and it is most evident in the scenes where he’s required to be intense, which makes it all the more distracting. I guess it’s in the way he naturally talks, I really don’t know. He’s got the makings of a great actor within him, no doubt, but he’s got a long way to go in unleashing his full potential.
This film is very graphic, filled with scenes full of violence, blood, and sex. The final scene in this film involves mutilation of genitalia, and while mainly disturbing, its fitting for what the story ends up telling. It creates an image that will last in people’s minds long after they watch it. One more thing that this film does great is the scoring. The constant use of percussions throughout the film adds even more intensity to what is already an intense film.
Double Twisting Double Back is quite rough around its edges. Amidst its shortcomings, there’s a lot of compelling stuff in here, and some haunting imagery that left a lasting impression on me. It’s best to watch this film not knowing anything about it beforehand. A bit of polishing here and there would’ve been nice, but what we get now is not bad at all.