A Love Letter To… Twister

twister1 A Love Letter To... Twister

Imagine it: the whistling howl of the wind as it tears through flat mid-Western farmland. Saturated clouds hang dark in a darker sky, their slow swirl sweeping into inverted peaks that descend towards the earth, ready to ravage. This chilling, creeping ambience threads itself all the way through Twister, the 1996 blockbuster that taught Hollywood how to make a clever disaster movie. Starring Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton as a pair of almost-divorced meteorologists working on storm warning systems, it’s a proposal that sounds bizarre and a little but boring until you gift them with their nickname and real purpose – storm chasers. Pursuing tornadoes, or “twisters”, across the mid-West USA, Jo (Helen Hunt), Bill (Bill Paxton) and their team run along a knife-edge of danger as they fight to deploy their experimental warning system, narrowly escaping the devastation of twister after twister after twister.

Long before Into The Storm‘s found footage or Sharknado‘s aquatic extras, Twister showed the world how to make a movie about tornados. From its ominous opening and the full-scale destruction of a farm, farmer included, the film sets an almost impossible pace that careens from one stormy set-piece to the next. For a film released before the mo-cap and computer animated wizardry of Lord of the Rings, Twister‘s 300 effects shots are a triumph; with the film shot almost entirely in bright sunshine, Industrial Light & Magic painted the clouds in afterwards. The result is a dark and moody mise-en-scene that, backed by a soundtrack of strings and spangly guitar solos, builds into the perfect disaster movie; occasionally funny, often intense, and always unbelievably fun. Who can forget the poor unfortunate cow flying past the window, or the stunning sight of a twister ripping a cinema screen to shreds? Though it follows the Hollywood formula almost entirely to the letter, the relatively unusual focus of tornadoes keeps it fresh and helps it stand out from the crowd.

@ One Room With A View