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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "This story of yours..."
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...
Published on 1 Nov 2008 by Trevor Willsmer

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Acting Certainly
Sidney Lumet's claustrophobic 1972 thriller about the decline into near insanity of police delective Sean Connery is a near master-class in acting, but still leaves me somewhat unsatisfied. I think this is down to a combination of the somewhat dated production values and the unrelenting nature of the narrative, whereby Connery's obsession with the guilt of a would-be...
Published on 16 Nov 2011 by Keith M


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "This story of yours...", 1 Nov 2008
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Offence [DVD] (DVD)
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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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Offence To Miss It, 22 Oct 2004
This review is from: The Offence [DVD] [1972] (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
5.0 out of 5 stars The Offence , 2008 Optimum release - Unexpectedly gripping and involving drama., 2 Sep 2010
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Offence [DVD] (DVD)
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. The director chooses to play around a little with the timeframe and does not present a totally linear story. This accentuates the fractured nature of Johnson's mind, and gives an impression of going round in circles, with and endless cycle of violence repeating itself over and over. The theme from Harrison Birtwhistle, a composer I usually avoid because I dislike his dissonances and broken harmonies, is perfectly suited to the film. It too is fractured, unsettling, and an excellent accompaniment.

This 2008 release from Optimum has a decent transfer, with a nice and clean picture. It is presented in widescreen with a mono sound. There are no extras. Not that any are needed for this excellent feature.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All but forgotten gem, 9 Sep 2005
By 
P. Sanders "prhsuk" (Belfast) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Offence [DVD] [1972] (DVD)
"The Offence", along with another favourite of mine "Zardoz", comes from Sean Connery's 'wilderness' period - somewhere between Bond and his re-emergence in the late 80s. Directed by Sydney Lumet, this intense piece of drama showed that Connery was capable of more than just the odd quip over a martini.
I don't know if it is based on a play, but it does have a theatrical feel to it - a series of extended 2-person scenes telling the story of a police officer's psychological descent into madness and murder. This slightly 'stagebound' feel does not detract from the power of this intelligent, eloquent and engrossing film.
The themes of the film are pertinent today: can one who faces horrible acts on a daily basis become 'corrupted' by them? How do we deal with those accused of abuse? The fact that the film is set in rainy old Blighty as opposed to gritty New York makes this film even more powerful.
I'm not the world's biggest Connery fan, but with this film you have to give him his dues. He acts alongside the likes of Ian Bannen and Trevor Howard and easily holds his own. Not a thriller in the conventional sense, but if you're interested in a study of the nature of 'evil', "The Offence" is highly recommended.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grittier and grimmer than "The Hill" - I kid you not..., 6 Mar 2000
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An acting tour-de-force, this much neglected and overlooked film contains outstanding performances from Sean Connery and the late Ian Bannen, with unsettling direction from Sidney Lumet.
Relentlessly grim, but gripping nonetheless, "The Offence" shows the descent of Connerys' Police Officer into madness, after one brutal case too many.
A child murderer is on the loose and the facts of the case merge with connery's personal fiction as he becomes more and more detached from the real world.
Ian Bannen is the suspect and the latter half of the film focuses on Connerys brutal interrogation of him, convinced that he has the murderer.
I cannot praise this film enough, a brave piece of cinema, but easy to imagine audiences staying away from the thoroughly depressing story matter.
See "The Hill", see "The Offence" and then wonder what the hell Connery is doing in tripe like "Entrapment".
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bond as The Original Bad Lieutenant - A Hidden Gem, 20 Mar 2006
This review is from: The Offence [DVD] [1972] (DVD)
This film has the feel of a BBC2 play for today from the early 1970s (with slightly higher production values) as co-written by Friedriech Nietzsche, R.D. Laing, Ingmar Bergman and N.F. Crisp. And in my book, that's the highest possible praise. Connery (on furlough from the Bond franchise and sporting a hairy caterpillar mustache, a pork-pie hat and a Big Ron style football manager's sheepskin coat) gives a great turn as a self-hating, taciturn cop whose 20 years of mopping up human refuse and steadfastly repressing his own illicit urges have driven to the verge of a nervous breakdown. He's more than ably supported by Ian Bannen as the alternately wheedling and confrontational paedophile suspect who ultimately becomes the target for Connery's pent-up rage, and by Trevor Howard as the hard-bitten investigator called in to deal with the aftermath. Vivian Merchant plays Connery's put-upon wife with great self-effacingness; the scene in which Connery cruelly eviscerates their marriage and ruthlessly dumps on her the harrowing images which haunt him after 20 years of cleaning up human wreckage is excruciating to watch. Director Sidney Lumet stages the film as a mixture of dour police procedural, grim kitchen-sink realism and raw psychodrama, with the odd expressionistic flourish. The rainswept housing estates and damp concrete shopping precincts of 1970s suburban Britain provide an appropriately bleak backdrop to the film's real centre - a trio of powerful and dialogue-heavy two-handed scenes in which Connery goes up against Merchant, Howard and, in a confontation Lumet returns to at several points in the film, Bannen. These scenes betray the film's stage origins, but the writing, acting and direction are of sufficiently high quality to make this immaterial.
Overall, 'The Offence' offers little in the way of comfort or reassurance. Its view of human relationships is unrelentingly bleak. All the characters are sucked into a destructive victim-bully dynamic, escape from which seems impossible. All, too, are puppets of internal forces - sexual, psychological, familial - they seem aware of but unable to deal with. Even Trevor Howard's investigator isn't above the crippling master-slave power plays that pass for relationships in this drama, and the film suggests that both Connery and Bannen are happy to have destruction visited upon them as recompense for their self-loathing and inner torment. Questions of guilt and culpability are never definitively laid out for us, and the absence of any Hollywood-style resolution or grafted-on notion of 'redemption' only adds to the film's disturbing power. A sparingly-used but effectively dissonant Harrison Birtwhistle score complements the atmosphere wonderfully.
I can't imagine that even a director as committed to unsentimental drama as Lumet ('The Pawnbroker', 'Dog Day Afternoon', 'Prince of the City', 'Q&A') would have been able to make this film in the United States, even in 1973 when Hollywood was able to countenance the odd film without pre-digested morality and machine-tooled audience-pleasing resolution. Its closest Hollywood progenitors are Otto Preminger's 'Where the Sidewalk Ends' and Nicholas Ray's 'On Dangerous Ground', both gripping and tough 1950s vigilante-cop dramas compromised by conventionally moralistic and reassuring final reels. Its closest inheritor is Abel Ferrara's 'The Bad Lieutenant' - more extreme but overwrought, overrated and oversimplified in my view, and uttlerly lacking the complexity or subtlety of 'The Offence'.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally absorbing, wholly underrated, 22 Nov 2009
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This review is from: The Offence [DVD] (DVD)
This is a marvelous film. A watertight script, neatly edited and a chilling score from Harrison Birtwistle. It is rare to find a film that is so accomplished, yet so utterly neglected of its place in cinematic history.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Connery - The Actor!, 6 Mar 2007
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This review is from: The Offence [DVD] [1972] (DVD)
Film makers, film students; One of the films you should watch and learn from. This is the sort of story telling that film makers aspire to.

The stature of actors like Connery makes the need to pad out the story with unnecessary love interests, bedroom scenes and foul language, unnecessary. This is all achieved by superlative acting skills.

Connery gives a study in intensity that dramatically displays the vulnerability of a damaged police officer without the usually cliches. No 'beautiful' people here; No CGI (too early I know); real people in real situations. A magnificent study...............
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something Like the Truth, 19 Sep 2011
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Offence [DVD] (DVD)
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 on 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. It poses many questions, and thrives on ambiguity to the point repeat viewings are a must, but in the main what shrieks out is the thematic point of one mans harrowing employment taking its toll on he himself. Is it possible that you can only chase and be amongst monsters yourself before you become one of that number?

It's invariably hard to recommend the film as high entertainment, a comfy night in by the fire this film is not. But as film art, a searing character study and acting supreme, it scores impressively high whilst tantalisingly tickling the cranium. It's very dialogue heavy, and Lumet as polished a director as he is, keeps it grainy, revelling in the bleakness of the story. Connery has never been better, utterly compelling, a brooding force of nature and as committed to role as he has ever been. Nor, too, arguably, has Bannen, the scenes shared between the two men are lessons in acting as they portray two warped minds bouncing off each with an unsettling force that grips us round the throat and refuses to let go long after the credits have rolled. Howard steps in to add a touch of mature quality, he too bringing the best out of Connery in the scenes they share, while Merchant as Johnson's "on the outside" wife, is raw and heartfelt.

You can't pigeon hole The Offence, it's very much one of a kind and it demands to be tracked down by serious film fans. From the low key score and foreboding 70s setting, to the gripper of a denouement, The Offence is an essential piece of British cinema. 9.5/10
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "This story of yours...", 5 May 2006
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: The Offence [DVD] [1972] (DVD)
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.

The R2 MGM/UA disc, like most of MGM/UA's European releases, sadly contains no extras even though footage of the rehearsals exists and occasionally turns up on documentaries, but does boast an acceptable (but not outstanding) widescreen transfer.
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