This is the story of two young twins who are living completely different lives, one in a boarding school who is caught up in a child smuggling ring and the other is living with his struggling artist father, but are able to share their physical pain and emotions as if telepathically. Thomas, who is with his father, knows of Tom, the boarding school “orphan,” but everyone believes Tom is just his imaginary friend. Through a chance encounter the two are reunited and both must find a way to escape the smugglers who wish to take them sell them outside of England.
The film is a decent enough fantasy but becomes a bit too intense for young audiences, especially by the time a smuggler is having numerous standoffs and chases at gunpoint across an airport. This is advertised as a children’s film but seeing children kidnapped, tied up and drugged can be quite haunting so parents should be cautious before popping this into the DVD player, but they certainly would do themselves by watching it by themselves. The story starts off as rather tedious but by the time the boys meet (about a third of the way through) the adventure intensifies, which raises my interest.
Some of the supporting cast turn are left churning out one-sided, obvious character types, especially the villains; and a perfect example would be the smuggler conspirator and boarding school caretaker named Finch, who attempts to be menacing at the start but then places a look of shock on his face that never leaves despite the large amount of varied scenes he has for the remainder of the film. Sean Bean, who plays the father, does what he can to bring some dramatic weight to the film and his helped out by the more dire situations as his performance becomes highlighted when film seems to conform around him to his level of dramatic conviction. Aaron Johnson makes his film debut as boht title characters. He too gets better as the film progresses. When we mostly know Thomas, one can get tired of the cheeky tone of his voice, but when he is doing double duty as both Tom and Thomas when must give him credit for being able to distinguish the two in his performance. We’re not talking about a Jeremy Irons in Dead Ringers level of distinction but certainly a performance worth noting.
Widescreen 1.85:1. I admit I have yet to understand why European films seem to have some sort of filter over them. Perhaps it has something to do with transferring it to a new Region Code, I don’t know and am embarrassed to admit I have not researched this. But this is besides the point. The visuals are quite clean, despite my eyes catching this “European” filter. There is a surprising amount of very big sets but the director, Esme Lammer, has a skilled eye as anyone could easily mistakes parts of the ending as Die Hard or some other big budget thriller (set by big planes at least).
Dolby Digital Stereo. Surround sound would have aided this film greatly as the Stereo is nicely balanced and the intense portions have a nice boost of power, but one is truly missing out of that immersion experience without all speakers humming. For what it is, it is well made.
Dubbing available in French and English, but only English subtitles available.
Just a trailer, which is nothing special at all.
Though some of the setups for the conflict in this story can be somewhat obvious, this is still a decent watch by a director who knows what he is doing. The camera moves skillfully during points of action and knows when to be dormant at other spots. A great deal of credit goes to Lammer for the films success in maintaining interest. All in all, a good story that is best suited to younger audiences who can handle thriller level drama.