Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
on October 10, 2010
This is a brilliant adaptation of Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist!" I've just finished viewing it for the second time and it will stay with me for some time to come.
First let me say that if you are looking for the popular musical, "Oliver!" with the famous songs "Who Will Buy?" and "Consider Yourself" and "Oom Pah Pah" you will not find them here. Not to take away from the musical at all (for it is itself a great work), this particular masterpiece of theatre is, by comparison, a dark, brooding, foggy, muddy, cold, rainy, sullen and raw depiction of the London-based classic. It is not a comedy by any means. It is not uplifting. Oliver (wondrously portrayed by Barney Clark), while exceedingly appealing does not come across as precocious. His 'realness' is what makes his character so believable. Roman Polanski's film is very faithful to Dickens' novel; this boy Oliver suffers greatly for being an orphan.
Almost all of the characters in the film are absolute scallywags. From the first scene of the movie it is clear that Oliver is so unloved and uncared for. He knows nothing but misery as he is chased and hunted, envied, lied on, lied to, mislead and detested. From the time in the workhouse when he is chosen by lot to beg for more food, ["Please, sir, I want some more"] he is running for his life in hopes of achieving safety and compassion. If it were not for the kindness of a rich man and his housekeeper he would have no reason to have faith in humankind. Ultimately he triumphs after having been beat down so much, yet the triumph he experiences (though mildly anti-climactic) is worth enduring his perilous travails as an orphan.
Barney Clark should have been nominated for and should have won an Academy award for his work here, as well as Roman Polanski for his directing, Ben Kingsley for his portrayal of Mr. Fagin, and the motion picture itself. I am thoroughly impressed with what I've seen here, and no other adaptation will ever come close.