Twin Falls Idaho

Although Michael Polish gets sole director credit, it's obvious that he made this picture in tandem with identical twin Mark. The two, in fact, play a reclusive pair of conjoined (or so-called "Siamese") twins, renting a room in a shabby hotel as they try to track down the birth mother who abandoned them years earlier. They soon befriend a young prostitute who starts falling for the healthier of the two brothers (played by Mark, who as an actor does most of the heavy lifting in the film), even as the sicklier brother (Michael) grows more and more ill.

I went to CalArts with Michael Polish. I didn't know him, but I do recall seeing both brothers around campus all the time. They clearly had an incredibly close bond and even accepted Michael's diploma together at graduation. (They rode up to the podium on horses, dressed in full cowboy regalia.) Even someone who didn't know how close the Polishes are in real life could see that this film – written by the brothers – is an extremely personal one, where their onscreen symbiosis is a metaphor for their offscreen interdependence.

That personal touch saves what might, on the surface, seem like a self-consciously quirky indie. (The oddball cast, from cult icon Holly Woodlawn to once-famous leading lady Lesley Ann Warren to long-forgotten Saturday Night Live alumnus Garrett Morris, suggests that either the Polishes were having a laugh or simply desperate to increase their low-budget film's marketability with a handful of recognizable names.) A tender spin on sibling responsibility, Twin Falls Idaho is what all American indies should aspire to be: original, well-crafted, sophisticated, and heartfelt.