7.0/10
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46 user 49 critic

The Offence (1973)

R | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 1973 (Turkey)
A burnt-out British police detective finally snaps whilst interrogating a suspected child molester.

Director:

Sidney Lumet

Writers:

John Hopkins (play), John Hopkins
Reviews
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Sean Connery ... Johnson
Trevor Howard ... Cartwright
Vivien Merchant ... Maureen
Ian Bannen ... Baxter
Peter Bowles ... Cameron
Derek Newark Derek Newark ... Jessard
Ronald Radd ... Lawson
John Hallam ... Panton
Richard Moore Richard Moore ... Garrett
Anthony Sagar Anthony Sagar ... Hill
Maxine Gordon Maxine Gordon ... Janie
Hilda Fenemore Hilda Fenemore ... Woman on Common
Rhoda Lewis ... Woman at School
Cynthia Lund Cynthia Lund ... Child at School
Howard Goorney Howard Goorney ... Lambert
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Storyline

In Sidney Lumet's harrowing portrayal of police brutality, Detective Sergeant Johnson's been on the police force for 12 years. In that time, the number murders, rapes, and other felony crimes he's investigated has left a terrible mark on his psyche. His bottled-up anger and rage finally explodes whilst interviewing Baxter - a suspect in a series of brutal attacks on young girls, Throughout the interview, Johnson brutally beats Baxter, and reveals the state of his own mind's probably no better than some of the offenders who've comitted the crimes which 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 »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1973 (Turkey) See more »

Also Known As:

The Offence See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$900,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Tantallon See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie took just one month to film, at a low cost of one million dollars. Despite this, and excellent notices, it failed to make any profit for nine years, and went unreleased in several countries, including the major market of France. 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

Featured in The Battle of the Bonds (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Groupie
(uncredited)
Music by Barry Stoller
De Wolfe Music Ltd
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A great film.
3 July 2000 | by heathblairSee 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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