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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
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 »
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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