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In Speed, director Jan De Bont took audiences on a thrill-a-minute fairground ride. Now. with Twister. he keeps the action coming with the biggest tornado since Dorothy went over the rainbow. Nigel Floyd meets him in Amsterdam.
18 The List 261ul-8 Aug I996
aving served as the cinematographer on films such as Die Hard. Lei/ml Weapon 3 and The Hunt For Red ()(‘l()/)('I'. Jan De Bont made the transition to directing action movies with remarkable ease. The Dutch- born filmmaker‘s directorial debut was the hugely successful Speed. an adrenalised chase movie which established Keanu Reeves as a potential Action Man and launched the meteoric career of ‘Babe Next Door' Sandra Bullock.
Now his second feature. 7ir-isier — a special effects-laden rollercoaster ride about tornadoes and fearless storm chasers — is set to sweep away everything in its path. The plot may be as flimsy as the match-wood buildings. but when the wind gets up and the cows start swirling around your head. De Bont‘s staging of the increasingly violent storms leaves you open- mouthed and exhausted.
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Like Jurassic Park before it. Twister is an ‘event movie‘ which relies heavily on astonishing. computer-generated effects. but De Bont denies that it relies too much on the triumph ot‘eye-popping spectacle at the expense of credible characters and plot logic.
‘Actually. when the movie was first edited together. without the effects. the studio was so happy that they joked about releasing it like that.‘ the director explains. ‘but then we started to add all the computerised storm sequences. and they became so big that they became a major star. All of a sudden. the tornadoes became almost bigger than the rest of the movie. That was a little scary and I had to re-cut some of the scenes because they were much bigger than life. It was as if the secondary scenes — for example. the competition between the two teams of scientists. which we all thought were very necessary for the movie — had gotten away.‘