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The Offence
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 1999
Anyone wondering about the true acting ability of Sean Connery should catch this grim psychological drama directed with stark realism (as usual) by Sidney Lumet. I knew he could act through the smirks and savoir faire of James Bond and other big movies but the roles always lesser than the surrounding spectacle. 'The Offence' finds Connery in a stripped-down, rough little movie that pits his detective against the late Ian Bannen's child molester suspect. The battle of wits breaks only to look at the cop's equally distressing marital life. Yes, a tough one to watch but marvel at the sheer power of Connery's performance as the driven yet ambivalent detective. If you're a Connery fan, or just a lover of good acting, check this out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2015
"The Offence" (1972) was a well-acted Sidney Lumet directed story that kind of misfired for me because the film told its story too ambiguously, while leaving one with a lot to think about, but it is, upon second and third viewings, cloudy. It remains cloudy about things that should be very determined while watching the story unfold. I was surprised at Sidney Lumet who consistently knows how to tell a story. That includes the very misunderstood "The Appointment" with Omar Sharif and Anouk Aimee. That film was designed to be ambiguous, almost like a Chinese puzzle, but with "The Offence" we really do not have a protagonist as the film tries to give creditability by their very humaness, despicable traits so and the ambiguity never clarifies our doubts. Granted, every hearing in a court of law does not guarantee that justice is always served. Otherwise the film is outstanding. Sean Connery and Vivien Merchant are stellar and Ian Bannen, who appeared with Connery before in "The Hill" (1965) (also directed by Sidney Lumet) (one that I have not seen), I have never seen better. (I wonder when we will get the chance to see him in 1965's ""Mister Moses" starring Robert Mitchum?) "The Offence" was put out on MOD at first, and this very good Blu-ray presentation by Kino Lorber, while affordable, does not have many extras. It was based on John Hopkins' play "This Story of Yours." The film is intelligent, but I don't know what it is that I was supposed to get from it. I am sure others won't agree.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Perfect for director Stanley Lumet's style and approach to material "The Offence" also gives Sean Connery a terrific opportunit to show off his acting chops and shrug off the image of 007. Originally Connery had difficulty getting this adaptation of John Hopkins (who also wrote the screenplay opening it up quite a bit)play backing. Connery agreed to star as 007 for "Diamonds Are Forever" on the condition that United Artists support two moderately budgeted films of his choice and donate his substanial salary to charity. As cool and controled as Connery was playing 007 the year before this was shot, Johnson is all explosive emotions.

SPOILERS:

This dark drama features Connery as a police detective John Hopkins on the trail of a serial child molester. Once Johnson nabs his suspect things go awry during his interrogation. Hopkins is burned out so much so that his superior (Peter Bowles- "The Avengers" TV series among many other projects-who is curiously revoiced by another actor)has begun to doubt Hopkins' decisions, choics and abilites to judge his suspects. When they pull in suspect Kenneth Baxter (Ian Bannen-"Waking Ned Devine"), Johnson becomes unhinged.

END OF SPOILERS:

Lumet who did such classics as "Price of the City", "12 Angry Men" and "Network" brings his unwavering critical gaze on the corrosion of the soul that dealing with the worst sort of criminals can do eroding the morality of a normal man. Lumet's approach here is no frills as was often his style--no stylized action scenes glorifying violence and designed to make the audience root without thought for the good guy. "The Offence" deals in shades of gray whether it be a man pursuing justice for innocent victims like Johnson or he attacker.

The transfer here is acceptable although it appears to be an older one (perhaps the one used to prepared the original DVD). Colors are washed out (a deliberate choice although they could be a bit stronger with a proper restoration--there are some scenes here with the color saturation is so weak that the scenes are one step away from black and white. That could have been Lumet's choice but it's hard to tell with him no longer around. I didn't see this during his theatrical run in 1973). Detail is pretty good throughout and this is a very clean looking transfer from a very nice (if faded)interpositive. The film could certainly benefit from a restoration (and it wouldn't be that expensive given how goo dthe source material looks

The audio sounds fine. The original mono is presented without any enhancement. It should be noted, however, that Kino has chosen not to include subtitles for this film. Given that the audience for this film is likely a older one, that's a mistake. The languages only include English so this is a bare bones presentation.

We don't get any speial features beyond he trailer which, unlike most modern trailes, doesn't spoil the entire film. Sadly, Lumet passed away in 2011 and while Connery is (at present) still wit us, I don't know that he's interested in doing any commentary tracks.

For those interested that can play region B discs, the UK release is the better value as it comes with new interviews with production crew discussing the making of the movie and an excellent 36 page booklet. The transfer is the same although with a higher bit rate and slightly stronger colors.

I doubt that there are any vintage featurettes that were produced to promote the film (United Artists did minimal promotion of the project and it didn't even make back its $1 million budget in theaters). It might have been nice to have a featurette that detailed the production of the film (or a commentary track from someone knowledgable about the production of the film, Lumet or Connery's careers, etc.--hey Kino I work for plane fare if you're looking or someone).

A solid but unspectacular presentation of a dark, minor classic, "The Offence" isn't a huge improvemet over the DVD release but detail is improved as is depth with some nice textures evident at times. The audio is solid doing exactly what needs to be done for the film no more or less. It would have been nice to have subtitles, a commentary track or short featurette on the production of the film but I doubt that Kino had the budget for it since the company is licensing this project via Fox (who handles MGM/UA home video releases).

"The Offence" is a dark ride and glimpse into the psyche of a burned out detective trying to make sense of his world. I recommend it but it is a harrowing film to watch.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2011
THE OFFENCE is a tight, taut, gripping drama of psychological suspense that showcases what may be Sean Connery's finest performance. He plays a police inspector whose perception of the world, and his part of it, has begun to fall to pieces after he's seen one bit of brutality too many. The always remarkable, always underrated Ian Bannen plays a suspect in the abduction of a schoolgirl who proves too much of a match for the disintegrating sergent in the interrogation room. Sidney Lumet made many films on many wide-ranging subjects, but always kept returning to crime, law enforcement, and the justice system for his strongest, best-wrought films. Here his viewpoint wavers between the objective and the subjective, creating a visible tension. The camera is so much inside the sergeant's view for so much of the film that we feel the space of the frame straining with its effort to get outside of his nightmare. Lumet did some of his best work with Connery. This film stands with THE HILL as two of the finest works of both the actor and the director.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 17, 2009
Finding out this movie was adapted from a stage play answered a lot of questions for me. The film feels very much like a play. It rarely moves from one room to the next, and the majority of the film feels like one long conversation. My wife, bored within the first few minutes, continually walked in and out of the room and she commented on how it felt like the movie was one never-ending scene, beings that she always seemed to see the same thing upon reentering the room.

I'm not saying that this is a huge issue, but there are times when the film can seem redundant because of that.

Sidney Lumet is an extraordinary director, I won't ever deny him that. I personally don't feel this is his best effort, and I found the film to be lacking in a few areas, but there is no denying that Lumet tries gallantly to make this work.

The film opens with the aftermath of a brutal attack. This is not the type of attack you'd expect though. It opens with Detective Sergeant Johnson brutally interrogating Kenneth Baxter, a man suspected of child molestation. After this opening sequence we are taken back to before the attack so that we can see what led up to Kenneth being taken into custody, and then it skips right over the interrogation to show Johnson adjusting after the attack. Only after we see his moral collapse do we get to see what all happened inside that room.

Personally I found that Connery anchored this movie, and without his presence the film falls flat. Thankfully he's in most of the film. I've always enjoyed Sean's work, but he's never truly been taken seriously as an actor. I found his Oscar winning performance in `The Untouchables' to be weak, and so I've always been slightly baffled that that still remains his ONLY nomination, when you consider his superb work, especially during the 70's. This performance in particular was stellar. He really captures the haunting realities of working in this field. He portrays his characters mental deterioration and emotional crumbling to perfection, especially in that final interrogation scene. I also enjoyed his severity in which he conveys his feelings to his wife. He really got the seething nature of his profession.

Aside from Connery (and a rather remarkably unsettling turn by Ian Bannen) though, I found this film to be a little stale. I don't know how to explain the feeling I got when the film ended. It didn't leave me with any real lasting connection. Sure, Connery was effecting and he really elevated the film, but in the end the film doesn't feel like anything remarkable at all. It just feels like a film, plain and simple. It's a decent way to pass the time. True, it could have been edited a little better. There are scenes that seem to drag on and there could have been a little more character development in areas, but overall I cannot say this is a waste of time.

Watch it for Connery, and expect a lot from him because he delivers; but don't expect this to be a film you'll want to watch over and over because it's simply not that film.
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on August 2, 2011
In return for agreeing to be in Diamonds Are Forever, Connery received one million dollars and a promise by United Artists to finance two films of his choice. Connery gave the million dollars to charity and asked that The Offence be financed. Oddly enough I understand that Connery never did request that UA finance that second film. It's unlikely that this film ever would have seen the light of day otherwise as well. Here, Connery gives one of his best performances. The film came out in 1973. I saw it in Los Angeles in 1978 or 1979 when it received it's "Southern California Premiere"; perhaps that is why Connery was never nominated for an Oscar for his perfomance, because maybe no one from the Academy had a chance to see the film back in 1973. One of the darkest films I've ever seen with many incredibly eerie scenes, this movie is not for everyone. It concerns the hunt for and capture of a child molester. The essential conceit of the movie breaks down at the end however, because the movie suggests that Connery's inner demons are the result of the terrible things he has seen as a police officer, but I did not accept the idea that those memories could have resulted in Connery's specific pathology as the film strongly suggests.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEon January 16, 2005
This film was incredibly neglected in its historic context . The camera - eye goes through the screen directly to the crime scene : A Federal Agent has exceeded his ethics principles in order to get a confession when , in the middle of the interrogatory certain details will get out of control.

The admirable flashbacks employed by Lumet allows us to rebuilt all this conflictive puzzle. The sum of so many memories has been burrowing the emotional equilibrium of this efficient agent : the horror , the impotence , leads him to a serious isolating process characterized by an evident lack of communication with any other person . The frenetic discussion with his wife confirms the statement . He seems to be possessed by a febrile obsession : all or nothing is his inner philosophy .

Few times Sean Connery had been required with such level of expressiveness Ian Bannen is superb too as the suspect man.

A mature and introspective film . Another triumph for Lumet .
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2011
Some of the MGM Limited Edition titles have been very nice, such as 99 RIVER STREET, but others like THE HAWAIIANS and THE SATAN BUG have been nearly unwatchable. This film, THE OFFENCE, isn't a total loss, but it has DVD authoring issues. Jerky motion artifacts on pans and lots of jaggies in the image. Color and contrast-wise the image looks great, it's just when characters (or the camera) move around that the image falls apart. Might not be too bad on a small television, but is a chore to sit through on a big screen.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2014
For anyone who has HOH PROBLEMS and others who might be remotely interested ....this NEW BD release ,,,has NO-SUBTITLES .............of any description...............but the movie will be re-mastered and released in UK in first quarter of next year WITH ENGLISH SUB-TITLES...........
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on January 13, 2013
This is from the MGM vault series. While it is not close-captioned for the hearing-impaired, it is presented (for the first time on DVD) in its original (theatrical) letter-boxed presentation of 1:85.
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