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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 <email@example.com>
Lumet is at his best when he's close to filmed stage production:"twelve angry men" "dog day afternoon" "deathtrap" and even "murder on the orient express"are good examples.That is to say "The offence" is a talky work,par excellence the psychological drama.They say Sean Connery had to make another Bond (diamonds are forever) to be able to portray this cop.He made it a winner:it's one of his three best parts in the seventies with "the man who would be king" (1975)and "Robin and Marian" (1976).These three films cast him as an anti-hero(Huston's work),a has -been legendary character (Lester's) and here a psychotic cop:demeaning parts indeed,a million miles away from James Bond -but even when he was in his Bond era,Connery had made "the hill" with Lumet,another anti-hero part-
"The offence" appears first as another serial killer story.But the script focuses on a cop,and we are far from the cardboard character we have encountered so many times since (eg the alcoholic but handsome detective ,naturally a divorcée ,who finds love again and redeems himself:if you're looking for that ,and horrible crimes ,pass by).Connery's man psyche is shot ."I would not have your thoughts" says the suspect who reveals a deep malaise.Actually,we will never completely know what's going on in the cop's mind:his job seems to have driven him insane ,and at home,he's a frustrated husband (You're not a beauty,he tells his wife,you're not even pretty).Atrocious pictures fleetingly appear on the screen,building some incomplete jig-saw puzzle. But it's Connery's portrayal,at once frightening and pitiful,which gives the movie its incredible strength and the supporting cast is up to scratch.
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