The Offence

Film, Thrillers
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Adaptation of a stage play (This Story of Yours) by John Hopkins (of Z Cars). Discreet as it is, the opening-out process (effected by Hopkins himself) has sabotaged the strange, claustrophobic duel in which a suspected child-molester (Bannen) and the cop obsessively convinced of his guilt (Connery) find themselves subtly changing places during the course of interrogation. Embedded in a 'realistic' police scene, dialogue and situations now have a ring of arty melodrama. Fascinating, nevertheless, with outstanding performances from Connery and (especially) Bannen.

By: TM

Release details

Duration: 113 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Sidney Lumet
Screenwriter: John Hopkins
Cast: Sean Connery
Trevor Howard
Vivien Merchant
Ian Bannen
Derek Newark
Peter Bowles
John Hallam

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

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An ill tempered detective, eaten up inside by years of frustrations and morbid flashbacks, finally snaps and savagely attacks a suspected child molester. The theatrical origins of this gloomy psycho-drama are very evident, and Lumet seems to be struggling to give it some visual weight, resorting to some obvious cinematic devices- windscreen wipers mesmerising the cop to recall some of his most harrowing cases, odd camera angles, ghostly slo-mo etc. The director is further saddled by retaining some of the opulent soliloquies from the original play that seriously threatens to undermine the authentic atmosphere of a mundane police station, and it's macho culture. There are considerable plusses though: a serious attempt to tackle a very real problem of stress within the force as well the disappointments presented by sex generally; a genuine atmosphere of dread during the interrogation scenes; and the courageous and compelling performances from Connery, Bannen and Merchant that rmust ank amongst their best works.