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The Offence [DVD] [1972]

36 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Sean Connery, Trevor Howard, Vivien Merchant, Ian Bannen, Peter Bowles
  • Directors: Sidney Lumet
  • Writers: John Hopkins
  • Producers: Denis O'Dell
  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles: Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Greek
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English, German
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: MGM
  • DVD Release Date: 4 Oct. 2004
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002VF534
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 49,396 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Crime drama directed by Sidney Lumet. Sean Connery stars as Detective Sergeant Johnson, a brutal policeman who has seen too much action and misery in his past twenty years of service. In the claustrophobic atmosphere of the interrogation room, Johnson finally snaps when questioning a suspected rapist called Kenneth Baxter (Ian Bannen), who he is convinced is guilty. But as he becomes more obsessed with Baxter's guilt and his suppressed emotions are unleashed, the detective finds himself subtly changing places with the offender as notions of truth, good and evil are challenged.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 1 Nov. 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The Offence tends to have been relegated to a trivia question these days (what was the film United Artists agreed to make as part of their deal to get Sean Connery to play Bond in Diamonds Are Forever?). On some levels it is dated, but the power of Connery's truly extraordinary performance is undiminished. A man almost totally morally decayed by the horrors of the job who sees something he recognises in himself in the suspect in a series of child-rapes (an almost equally impressive Ian Bannen), with terrible consequences, it's a ferocious outpouring of anger and contempt crying out for help he simply won't accept. The eternally under-rated Sidney Lumet's direction is bold and cinematic despite the theatrical origins (the play Something Like the Truth by Thunderball co-writer John Hopkins), the film's dulled palette mirrored by the half-finished grey concrete of the modernist police station: with its large windows looking out at pure blackness, it's more a reflection of the character's state of mind than an attempt at a realistic representation, but it's an entirely appropriate arena.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By "johnedwards1213" on 22 Oct. 2004
Format: DVD
If you want to see some powerhouse acting from Sean Connery (particularly), Ian Bannen and Trevor Howard then watch this film. Directed by Sidney Lumet this is a stirring piece given added impetus by what seems to happen on a regular basis in this country (missing children). This film shows us what Sean Connery can do....and it is blistering.
I showed this film to my son (15 years old), who has been weaned (to a certain extent) on the film's of George Lucas, Steven Spielberg etc.
He said it was the best film he had ever seen - endorsement indeed. See it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Victor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 2 Sept. 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Having heard about this film in a pub quiz night (Q - which film did UA let Sean Connery make in return for his appearing in Diamonds are Forever?) I was quite intrigued and decided to look it out. When I read the glowing reviews I decided to buy it, but with a degree of caution. I have watched a few films which have received rave reviews as lost classics, and been disappointed. However, this was really not the case with this superior drama.

It tells the story of an ordinary policeman, who is forced to confront the worst that humanity has to offer day after day. One day, it all becomes too much, he tips over the edge and the Offence of the title is committed.

It's a gripping study of the effects of exposure to endless brutality has on a fundamentally decent and honest man. Sean Connery is a revelation in the lead role. I had never really thought of him as an actor before, just an action hero. But here he really brings the character of Johnson, his fears, anguish and regrets to vivid life, both with the delivery of his lines and the expressions on his face. It's a powerful portrayal, and carries the film.

There are also excellent performances from Trevor Howard as the officer sent to investigate Johnson, and Ian Bannen as Baxter, the prime suspect in the case Johnson is investigating. It's skilfully done so that the perpetrator of the abuses is not revealed and we are never certain of Baxter's guilt. That becomes second place to Johnson's breakdown. Ian Bannen puts in a corker of a performance. During his interrogation it is fascinating to watch how the balance of power in the room shifts as he probes Johnson's weaknesses and brings him to the edge.

It's not a happy film, it is dark and disturbing throughout.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER on 19 Sept. 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The Offence is directed by Sidney Lumet and adapted to screenplay by John Hopkins from his own play titled This Story of Yours. It stars Sean Connery, Ian Bannen, Trevor Howard and Vivien Merchant. Cinematography is by Gerry Fisher and music by Harrison Birtwistle.

Detective Sergeant Johnson (Connery) has been with the British Police Force for two decades, in that time he has been witness to countless murders, rapes and other serious crimes. The images, the people he has had to deal with, have left a terrible mark on him. When suspected child sex attacker Kenneth Baxter (Bannen) comes up for interrogation by Johnson, his mind starts to fracture and he loses control, unleashing a dark side that comes out both physically and mentally.

You wouldn't think it possible for Lumet and Connery to have a hidden gem in their respective career outputs, but The Offence is very much just that. An unnerving skin itcher with an upsetting narrative core, The Offence was a commercial flop. It barely got released across the globe and only found its way onto home format release in the last 10 years. The film only got made after Connery struck a deal with United Artists, he would only return as James Bond for Diamonds Are Forever if they backed him for a couple of projects. One of which was The Offence, so with free licence to play Johnson, and his choice of Lumet in the directing chair, Connery got the film made.

Set with a bleak concrete back drop of a "New Town" (cheaply built monstrosities the government knocked up to ease the housing issues), The Offence is a fascinating blend of police procedural and psychological drama.
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