Superb psychological thriller with a brilliant Connery performance. (by tully-2)
This is a superb psychological thriller with a brilliant lead performance from Sean Connery.Connery plays a police detective nearing burn-out, the fuse for which is provided by a child molester on the loose. When a suspect Ian Bannen is arrested, the detective takes it upon himself to interrogate the man -- and ends up beating him to death. From there, the film examines what drove the detective to do it, through individual scenes with his wife Vivien Merchant and the internal affairs officer investigating the beating Trevor Howard . The final third of the film takes us step by step <more>
through the interrogation, as Bannen turns the psychological tables on Connery, making the detective see exactly the sort of animal that he has become as a result of twenty years of dealing unrelentingly with violence and death.John Hopkins' screenplay plays very much like a stage play it was adapted from Hopkins' play "This Story of Yours" , but in this case it works to the film's advantage as Connery's life is compartmentalized by virtue of the scene structure in a way that makes his personal life seem completely walled-off from his job, and his job completely walled off from the interrogation. As a result, his character's inability to deal with anything but his job and consequently, even that gives us marvelous clues as to why he does what he does. Sidney Lumet's direction -- his third venture with Connery previously the two worked on two of Connery's best films: "The Hill" 1965 and "The Anderson Tapes" 1971 -- utilizes the stagy conventions well to advance the story and to enhance the performances.As for the performances, these are uniformly excellent. Connery has never been better, playing a character who is anything but invulnerable, instead being a bundle of nerves and frustrations which explode into violence at crucial moments. Bannen is every bit his match as a complex, manipulative character who is at the same time sympathetic as Connery's victim and repulsive for the sadistic delight he takes in pushing Connery's buttons . Indeed, one of the strengths of the story is that it is never revealed whether Bannen did in fact molest the children in question -- by doing so, the film makes us understand that this is not the issue. Instead, the film is more about internal demons -- how we all have them, and how we can either control or be controlled by them.Howard is solid in what is perhaps the least interesting role in the film, but Merchant is phenomenal as Connery's plain wife, who has withstood his emotional abuse and neglect for years, sometimes in silence, sometimes not, but always with dignity. In perhaps one of the most poignant moments in the film, Connery, half-drunk, looks up at her, and asks in wonderment, "Weren't you ever pretty?" Merchant's lines following that are less important for their text, than for her reading of them -- wounded, but still confronting her husband like a prize fighter who's determined not be knocked out by a cheap shot in the fifteenth round.Perhaps the greatest tragedy of this film is that it is practically unknown in the United States, and that it did not air in enough American theaters to qualify for the Oscars. Otherwise, it would quite likely have resulted in Oscar nominations for Connery in an otherwise weak year for the Best Actor category, the only comparable performance nominated was Al Pacino's in "Serpico" , Bannen, and Merchant, not to mention Hopkins and possibly Lumet. All the same, definitely a film worth seeing if you're tired of watching detective films where Bruce Willis or Mel Gibson blow away half of Los Angeles.Rating: ****
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. <more>
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.
This film is a fine masterpiece by a masterful director. This is definitely one of the gems in his filmography, hardly known film, but a wonderful character study, a powerful insight in ones fears, and an example how any man can fall under the pressure of his own psyche. Connery is in one of his best roles, here, Bannen too. This film shows that there's something awkward in any man, and that the mind of a serial rapist can sometimes be less burdened than the mind of an ordinary decent man, who should protect the society from those, but can't handle it. All in all this one is highly <more>
ranked among the first five of Lumet's films. Not to forget the photography, which is brilliant as well, so deservedly I give it 10 out of 10.
Remarkable, dark, disturbing film. Sean Connery was a perfect, suave James Bond, and many of his later films were just audience-pleasing parodies, but this man can act. His portrayal of a seemingly hard-boiled detective merge perfectly later with the sociopathic figure he really has become. This is a searing film, which creeps up on you, and stuns you with sudden realizations. Connery's character Sergeant Johnson would have probably lived out his career, and his life, literally drowning in his sickness and misery, but for his meeting with Baxter, a suspected child molester and murderer. <more>
As the interview progresses, Baxter can clearly see the illness and pathology in Sergeant Johnson, and each push the other's buttons, closer and closer to the edge, and beyond. The revelations revealed take you back and forth, until you don't quite know who the real deviant is.Sean Connery and Ian Bannen were simply breathtakingly good. Great atmosphere and pacing in this dark, chilling movie. The slow, brooding, quiet pace to the film lends an air of disquiet, and an impending tragedy.
A fascinating character study ***½ out of **** (by Karl1975)
Director Sidney Lumet "12 Angry Men", "Dog Day Afternoon", "The Verdict" has found a very interesting style for this picture about a police detective's wrong way of dealing with his problems and the evil in the society around him. "The Offence" 1973 is well-photographed by Gerry Fisher who also did the cinematography for two other Lumet films: "The Sea Gull" and the great "Running on Empty" . The performances are extremely good. Sean Connery is as brilliant as in Lumet's masterful prison drama "The Hill". And <more>
Ian Bannen, Trevor Howard and Vivien Merchant are excellent as well.Although the suspenseful film gets sometimes a little slow-moving, it is a really admirable achievement.
An English police officer, Sgt. Johnson Sean Connery is cracking under pressure on his job. He beats a rape suspect Ian Bannen to death. But why? Was it the pressures of the job...or something else?Combination murder mystery and character study. This film was a major bomb in 1973 and quickly disappeared from view. It's still virtually unknown--I had no idea it even existed till it popped up on cable! That's really a shame. It IS a very dark, depressing film but it's always absorbing and easily contains one of Connery's best performances. He's letter perfect as a tired, <more>
disgusted police officer who doesn't know how to deal with his job and the stress. There's an especially harrowing sequence between him and his wife Vivien Merchant when he tries to explain to her what's happening to him--and she can't deal with it. Incidentally, Merchant's acting is superb also but it makes the scene very uncomfortable to watch. Also, Merchant was suffering from alcoholism at the time and she understandably looks horrible--but it fits the role. Also Trevor Howard turns in a good performance as a lieutenant who has to question Johnson. Don't let his top billing fool you--he doesn't show up until over an hour in and is only around for about 20 minutes.The picture isn't perfect--SPOILERS AHEAD!!!! For one thing, the opening credits are in slow motion with a VERY annoying sound playing all through it. Also it gives away the ending. And director Sideney Lumet is almost constantly flashing a bright light in our faces--it's annoying and not needed. The identity of the rapist is never made clear it's suggested--that's all and Bannen as the suspect gives a VERY strange performance. I didn't know what to make of his character.Still, it is a great, if disturbing, motion picture...faults aside. Worth catching...but brace yourself. It's pretty strong stuff.
Grim but rewarding character study with a great Connery performance. (by jckruize)
Arguably the best of Sidney Lumet's British films, this one benefits from a brilliant script by John Hopkins and a tour-de-force performance by Sean Connery as a cop who's been pushed too far. The interrogation scenes between him and an excellent Ian Bannen, as the prime suspect in a child molestation case, are riveting. Hopkins' dialogue is uncannily subtle in its gradual illumination of the psychological states of its two antagonists. Vivien Merchant is exceptional as Connery's emotionally-drained spouse. Gerry Fisher's cold, muted photography perfectly captures the <more>
sterility and bleakness of post-modern England. This is not a fun film, but its truths about the fragility of the human psyche are eloquently conveyed.
After returning to save the James Bond franchise with "Diamonds Are Forever," Sean Connery made a complete left-field choice for his next role. In "The Offence," he plays a stressed-out police officer on the verge of a nervous breakdown who is in a physical and psychological battle with a paedophile suspect he has in custody. Connery's character is also struggling with his own paedophile tendencies. It is an adaptation of John Hopkins play "This Story of Yours." It is essentially a two-hander for the most part with Connery and Ian Bannen as the paedophile <more>
trying to get the better of one another in the interrogation room of a police station.Even though Sean Connery won his only Oscar for "The Untouchables", for me, this is by far his best performance. He is an absolute powerhouse in this going from shouting, snarling rage to raving and ranting about paedophiles to then sobbing like a child and begging forgiveness.Ian Bannen is, if anything, even better than Connery here. His character veers from confused innocence to leering guilt, from screaming frustration to self-pity and then back to arrogance. It's an amazing performance. Sadly, Ian Bannen was killed in a car crash a few years back. A huge loss to the acting community.While "The Offence" on the surface seems like a very British police procedural drama, it was, surprisingly, directed by the American Sidney Lumet. Like Lumet's best movies "Twelve Angry Men," "The Hill", "Serpico" and "Dog Day Afternoon" this film features a character in an extremely pressurized situation. It's brave film-making at its darkest. Hollywood certainly took notice as Lumet was chosen to direct a young Al Pacino in two of his breakthrough movies "Serpico" in 1973 and "Dog Day Afternoon" in 1975 after this.This is the kind of film that would not only never be made today, to even suggest it as an idea for a film would probably be the end of your career. So, if you're tired of CGI monsters and explosions and you want to experience raw acting at its finest, get a copy of this film. It is uncomfortable viewing due to its disturbing subject matter, but you won't see better acting anywhere. Highly recommended.
The Offence is regarded as a favourite of Sean Connery but hardly anyone saw it on its cinema release. It did find an audience on television where it was regularly repeated.The film was made by American directing legend, Sidney Lumet. Yet the film is set in a new town outside of London.It is an urban environment that is very British, more at home to an episode of the TV series The Bill and not likely to be made by the person who did 'Dog Day Afternoon' or '12 Angry Men.'This town is under siege. There is a child attacker and parents are worried and the police are out in force <more>
protecting the streets.Connery is a detective on the edge of sanity. He has seen a lot of horror in his work and it has got too him. His home life is a wreck and he has found the body of one of the girl's that was attacked but she is still alive.When the police arrest a drunken suspect Ian Bannen. Connery thinks he has found the right man and interrogates him, brutally if necessary.Connery who brought an animal swagger to his James Bond and was a former bodybuilder, hulks over Bannen in the police room scenes.Yet there is a lot of psychological cat and mouse games between Bannen and Connery. Bannen is a little man who has always been bullied throughout his life by men like Connery. Somehow he came through such bullies and made a success of his life.When the red mist gets the better of Connery, Bannen dies in custody. We never find out if he was the actual culprit although I always regarded Bannen as innocent. The wrong man at the wrong place.We then see Connery getting interrogated by a superior office Trevor Howard and it is in these scenes we realise how out of control Connery is as we see the flashbacks.The film is terrifically acted by Bannen and Connery. The film with its early 70s, British urban setting and a host of familiar British character actors gives it a unique as well as now a historic look.It is still uncomfortable viewing but the film deserves your time.