A burned-out British police detective finally snaps while interrogating a suspected child molester.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Detective Sergeant Johnson
...
Lieutenant Cartwright, Detective Superintendant
Vivien Merchant ...
Maureen Johnson
...
Kenneth Baxter
...
Detective Inspector Cameron
Derek Newark ...
Frank Jessard
Ronald Radd ...
Lawson
John Hallam ...
Panton
Richard Moore ...
Garrett
Anthony Sagar ...
Hill
Maxine Gordon ...
Janie Edmonds, the Raped Girl
Hilda Fenemore ...
Woman on Common
Rhoda Lewis ...
Woman at School
Cynthia Lund ...
Child at School
Howard Goorney ...
Lambert
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Storyline

In Sidney Lumet's harrowing portrayal of police brutality, Detective Sergeant Johnson has been with the British Police Force for 20 years. In that time, the countless murders, rapes and other serious crimes he has had to investigate has left a terrible mark on him. His anger and aggression that had been suppressed for years finally surfaces when interviewing a suspect, Baxter, whom Johnson is convinced is the man that has been carrying out a series of brutal attacks on young girls. Throughout the interview Johnson brutally beats Baxter and during this ordeal he inadvertently reveals that the state of his own mind is probably no better than that of the offenders who committed the crimes that disgusted Johnson originally. Written by David Claydon <dc6212@bristol.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

After 20 years what Detective-Sergeant Johnson has seen and done is destroying him.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

1973 (Turkey)  »

Also Known As:

Övergreppet  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Sean Connery agreed to return as James Bond in Diamonds Are Forever (1971), as part of his deal, United Artists had to back two films of Connery's choice that would cost $2m or less. This was to be the first, and a Connery-directed version of Macbeth was to be the second. When The Offence failed at the box-office and Roman Polanski beat Connery to the screen with Macbeth (1971), Connery's version of "Macbeth" was cancelled. See more »

Goofs

A ladder leaning against the wall in the hallway outside of the police interrogation room is clearly labeled "TFS" for "Twickenham Film Studios." See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Detective Sergeant Johnson: God! Oh God!
See more »

Connections

Features The Hill (1965) See more »

Soundtracks

Groupie
(uncredited)
Music by Barry Stoller
De Wolfe Music Ltd
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User Reviews

 
A great film.
3 July 2000 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

The writer of this moving and disturbing film, John Hopkins, once said that to understand the nature of human evil one must first look inwards at oneself. Therein lie the answers. With 'The Offence', Hopkins took this philosophy to the limit and created a stunning portrayal of latent evil emerging from the wrecked personality of a good man.

Sean Connery's plays a cop who has seen too much of the dark side of human nature. The relentlessly brutal horrors of his job have eroded his human decency to the point where his own perverse subconscious urges are lured to the surface. Connery's failure to articulate his own tortured feelings leads to frustration and hostility as he becomes alienated him from his wife and colleagues. To his horror he realises that the only person who truly understands his pain is a suspected child molester (played with slippery relish by the late great Ian Bannen). Eventually, Connery's growing emotional dependency on Bannen leads to violent catharsis and death.

Sidney Lumet has never quite made a film like this before or since. Although he is on familiar ground - cops under intolerable pressure - the dream-like cinematic textures achieved here are reminiscent (though not imitative) of Welles and Tarkovsky.

The film is an acting tour de force: Connery and Bannen give the performances of their lives. Vivien Merchant and Trevor Howard are also compelling in vital supporting roles. Harrison Birtwhistle's sophisticated musical score supports the characters and scenes perfectly.

'The Offence' is one of the few films which accurately captures the bleak, estranged architecture of the many English New Towns that sprang up in the 50's and 60's. Lumet's eye for these soul-sucking landscapes is brilliant - better than that of most English directors. Originally conceived as 'workers paradises' by over zealous town-planners, these would-be concrete utopias rapidly became focal points of social malaise. It is fitting that Connery's troubled character should live and work in such desolation.

The story is not only emotionally complex but has an ambitious, multi-layered, time-shifted narrative structure that echoes the fractured memory of Connery's character. Lumet takes all these elements and shapes them into an unforgettable portrait of human frailty.


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