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Oliver Twist Reviews


Time Out
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October 6, 2005

AV Club
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October 1, 2005

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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October 1, 2005
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
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It's noble, high-minded and safe, and I can't help thinking that I would have preferred an audacious but honest failure.

Full Review Source: Washington Post

September 30, 2005
John Hartl
Seattle Times
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Great expectations are unavoidable when Roman Polanski takes on a Charles Dickens classic. Alas, his version of Oliver Twist fails to live up to them.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 2/4

September 30, 2005
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
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A grounded and unusually matter-of-fact adaptation.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 4/4

September 30, 2005
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
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Poignant and primal, Roman Polanski's splendid adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic pricks the heart and the conscience.

| Original Score: 3/4

September 30, 2005
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
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In Oliver Twist, it's the viewer who is punished.

Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel | Original Score: 2/5

September 30, 2005
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
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Oliver Twist is a lovely, tony picture, but it isn't exactly essential.

Full Review Source: Miami Herald | Original Score: 2.5/4

September 30, 2005
Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
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Nitpickers may squawk over missing elements, but the film doggedly hits on the book's big themes: the power of innocence, the cruelty of class.

Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle | Original Score: 3/4

September 30, 2005
Tom Long
Detroit News
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Oliver Twist as presented by Roman Polanski is pretty much the same as Oliver Twist presented by anyone else, except perhaps it's a bit duller.

| Original Score: C-

September 30, 2005
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
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As handsomely made, well-acted, dramatically unflinching and heartfelt as it is, Polanski's Oliver is a movie more admirable than emotionally affecting.

| Original Score: 3/4

September 30, 2005
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
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Polanski's Oliver proves surprisingly uninspired, taking nearly the entire movie before it belatedly springs to life.

| Original Score: C+

September 30, 2005
Michael Booth
Denver Post
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Polanski could have made Oliver as haunting as his 2002 Academy Award-winning film, The Pianist. Yet his new effort falls just short.

Full Review Source: Denver Post | Original Score: 2.5/4

September 30, 2005
Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
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The film is worth seeing, but it won't hold a cherished place in your moviegoing memories.

Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News | Original Score: B-

September 30, 2005
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
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It's as though Polanski had set the story's foolproof motor on cruise control and left the room; the tale is well told but told without personality.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 2.5/4

September 30, 2005
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
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Technically sound and surprisingly faithful to its source material, Roman Polanski's version of Oliver Twist comes across as uninspired and flat.

Full Review Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 2.5/4

September 30, 2005
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
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Perhaps it will take a school trip to encourage kids to see Oliver Twist, but that's one permission slip parents should sign.

Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Original Score: 4/5

September 29, 2005
Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
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Seeing Polanski's version of this most Dickensian of all Charles Dickens' tales, I felt full and wanted no more versions (please, sir!), having now seen the definitive one.

| Original Score: 3/4

September 29, 2005
Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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The film is high on production values but short on heart.

Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Original Score: 2.5/4

September 29, 2005
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
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Polanski's Oliver Twist is craftsmanly and relatively unsentimental.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 2.5/4

September 29, 2005
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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Polanski's film is visually exact and detailed without being too picturesque.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 3.5/4

September 29, 2005
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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When was the last time you walked out of a Polanski picture talking mostly about the sets and music?

Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Original Score: C

September 29, 2005
Anthony Lane
New Yorker
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Dickens knew that melodrama answers to something permanent in our nature; without it, any version of Oliver Twist draws perilously close to the genteel.

September 26, 2005
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
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The first question I have is, why? Why would Roman Polanski, one of the most innovative directors of the last half-century, want to adapt a story that has been told again and again?

Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper

September 26, 2005
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
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This is that rare movie version of a great novel in which watching is reading.

Full Review Source: Salon.com

September 23, 2005
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
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Polanski and his Pianist scribe Ronald Harwood have chosen to tell it in as simple a manner as possible, as though they had been given a Masterpiece Theatre assignment to dispatch.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 2.5/4

September 23, 2005
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
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Polanski's adult fans deserve something more than a film for the kiddies, and Dickens deserves better treatment than merely 'tasteful.'

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger | Original Score: 2.5/4

September 23, 2005
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
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Drab and unfeeling.

| Original Score: 2/4

September 23, 2005
Kyle Smith
New York Post
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Polanski's take will spark debate among Dickens lovers, but audiences won't respond as warmly as they have to Lean's classic.

| Original Score: 2.5/4

September 23, 2005
Jami Bernard
New York Daily News
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Polanski delivers an acceptable yet thoroughly uninspiring twist on the orphaned Oliver, who gets a raw deal every which way.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 2/4

September 23, 2005
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
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A work of craft that could be flying the Masterpiece Theatre banner. You know, an earnestly worthy adaptation of a literary classic, as faithful and polished as it is ponderous and unprovocative.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 2.5/4

September 23, 2005
Carina Chocano
Los Angeles Times
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That Polanski chose this as the movie he wanted to make for his own children feels motivated by more than a septuagenarian dad's desire to take a $60-million stab at a bedtime story. It feels inspired by a need to tell them who he is.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 4/5

September 22, 2005
Gene Seymour
Newsday
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It still stings in unlikely places.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 3/4

September 22, 2005
A.O. Scott
New York Times
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With tact and enthusiasm, Roman Polanski grabs hold of a great book and rediscovers its true and enduring vitality.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 4/5

September 22, 2005
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
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A near-masterpiece.

Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor | Original Score: A

September 22, 2005
Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
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Lacking energy and pace and enslaved by a ghastly score, this tepid movie left me longing alternately for David Lean's thrillingly grim 1948 masterpiece, and Carol Reed's chipper 1968 sing-along, with pretty tunes by Lionel Bart.

Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly

September 22, 2005
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
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It's irresistible to read his sorrowful and seemingly classical take, from a filmmaker known as much for the schisms in his personal history as for the lurches in his work, as something much more personal and poignant.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: B+

September 21, 2005
Jessica Winter
Village Voice
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The quality of mercy is strained, but by some strange feat it doesn't dissolve entirely.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

September 20, 2005
Todd McCarthy
Variety
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Conventional, straightforward and very much within what used to be called the Traditional of Quality, this handsome film is a respectable literary adaptation but lacks dramatic urgency and intriguing undercurrents.

Full Review Source: Variety

September 12, 2005
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
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The spark that an original point of view might bring to the oft-told tale is missing.

September 9, 2005
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