Oliver Twist - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Oliver Twist Reviews

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Super Reviewer
October 19, 2006
As with any remake or additional adaption of a Classic Book such as Oliver Twist, it's a given that this will inevitably be compared to the greatest known version, in this case it's the 1968 Musical version by Carol Reed known as Oliver!

It has to be said that the Actors had nothing on most of the originals and whilst Ben Kingsley truly made this part his own and did a great job, there truly is only one Fagin (Ron Moody). Jamie Foreman wasn't a match for the great Olly Reed and as for the Artful Dodger, Jack Wilder is a tough act to follow. Leanne Rowe however, I felt played a great Nancy and did impress me, possibly because it was played very differently to Shani Wallace and seemed well acted.

I'm sure this version is much more suited to the original Charles Dickens Classic and of course there were things in this updated version, such as filming etc, that gave this a much more intimidating London than it appeared in the Musical version.

Directed by Polanski, I'm not quite sure if this really had the Polanski stamp on it, I'm used to much more escalating horror/Thrillers from the Director.

Just one thing! There is no mention in this version of Oliver being related to Mr Brownlow, or was this something added to the Musical version?

All in all a good adaption of the tale, just not as memorable as the Musical version.
shauna1354
Super Reviewer
February 5, 2010
Being opposed to any Oliver! musicals, I found Roman Polanski's gritty re-telling of the beloved Dickens tale very enjoyable. Oliver Twist offers a realistic vision of Victorian-era England, engagaing story-telling and a fantastic cast. Polanski's skillful direction transforms the well-known story into a dark and absorbing tale that faithfully reflects Dicken's novel. Ben Kingsley is well-suited and gives an enjoyable performance as Fagin, Jamie Foreman gives a fearful portrayal as the books' baddie Bill Sikes, Barney Clark is tremendous as the pitiable title character that gives warmth and hope to the dark tale.
If you're a die-hard fan of the musical then you probably won't enjoy but if you're a film lover who can appreciate a legendary film-maker's audacious re-telling then sit back and enjoy.
ScoopOnline
Super Reviewer
December 19, 2009
A great Movie based upon Charles Dickens Novel.
CloudStrife84
Super Reviewer
½ July 12, 2007
Good adaptation of Charles Dickens's classic novel. Some of the settings are really gritty and filthy, as it should be considering where and when the story takes place. In fact, they have such an authentic and palpable feel to them, that you can almost smell what you see on screen. The best thing about the film though, is undoubtedly its characters. Like the old man Fagin for instance, superbly played by a near-unrecognizable Ben Kingsley. Another display of great acting comes from the virtually unknown Barney Clark (Oliver Twist that is), who as he went through one ordeal after the next, evoked a lot of sympathy from me as a viewer. The end result is an enjoyable watch, and some of the best work I've seen by director Roman Polanski.
Screeny
Super Reviewer
December 20, 2008
This movie is called "Oliver Twist", im sure you've all heard of it. There's been about three versions of the movie, including a musical version. This version is the newest, it came out in 2005 and its a really dark movie. Which is a good thing in my movie book. I always loved dark movies. Like the Harry Potter movies, they get darker and darker each time, Twilight, that was a dark movie. Fight Club was a DARK movie definatly. I could go on and on naming amazing movies that are dark. I'm sure Vampire 2000 likes dark movies as we'll considering his favorie movie is "Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Stree" and he enjoys horror movies that have Vampires. I'm sure everyone likes a dark movie. The Crypkeeper liking "American Pyhsco", thats a dark movie. Everyone likes dark movies. I'm sure you readers are just realizing that arent yea. Everyone loves that dark movie. This movie is dark, which is exactly why i liked this movie. Your probably saying to yourself, how is THIS a dark movie. We'll it is. The older version and the musical version were not as dark as this one. The other ones were more kidish than young adlult and adultish like this one. I mean this one has the violence and darkness in the characters that make you grip on your seat, other than scary man jumping into a stupid song like the older version. I'm probably boring you all with this "Why the movie is dark" paragraph arent i? Moving on.

The story in the movie is very interesting. The movie is set back in the Industrial Revolution. The time period were inventions were made with hands to making things with machines. The time were children worked in terrible factory conditions to make money for there family's shelter. That time period. Oliver Twist is the main character of the story, obviously from the title, he is an orphan boy who starts a adventure by getting his way out from the evil Mr. Bumbles' life to living in London City were he meets Fagin and The Dodger. He learns to pick-pocket and how to live in the city. But when, Oliver ends up living with a rich man, Fagin and his gang must get Oliver before he says the wrong words. Its a pretty dark gripping story, but i'm sure you all know the story of Oliver Twist. I liked the plot of the movie because it tells a incredible adventure of a ten year old boy and how he keeps himself alive in London during a very rough time, the Industrial Revolution.

The acting in this movie was quite good, whoever played Oliver Twist did a great job playing the character who has been a story hero for decades and decades. I was really amazed with whoever played Fagin. He was scary, creepy, funny, evil, and even dramatic in a weird way. lol. Fagin was a great role that i was really interested in. Whoever played Fagin, you deserve a round of applause. [Clap! Clap! Clap!]. Whoever played Mr. Bumble was really bad though, he was too still and really boring. He just didnt bring the evil Mr. Bumble to life like the Mr. Bumble from the older movies and the books. Thats why i gave the acting four stars. Because Mr. Bumble was just way off the line from what he should have been. Sorry whoever played Mr. Bumble, but its not like your reading this. All the other actors and actresses in this movie did a great job, a bravo to all of you. You really brought the amazing story of "Oliver Twist" to life. Good job. Scratch that, Amazing job.

What i noticed in the movie was the big difference between the rich and the poor. When Oliver was in the orphanage, the adults served all the children white crap, while the adults ate an amazing Turkey dinner that they could have shared with the kids. The rich in the movie treated the poor people like crap. I've noticed all the discounts and such that the rich got and all the respect that they got. That was another issue that was in The Industrial Revoltion and i was amazed to see that they added the "Rich and Poor" story to the movie unlike the other Oliver Twist movies. This movie didnt just pay attention to the Twist story but they paid attention to the Industrial Revolution story. Great job on that.

In conclusion, this is the Oliver Twist that i call the best of them all. This threw in all the details from the book and everything that the Twist story needed. This is a amazing movie and its dark, compelling, and dramatic that anyone can enjoy. This movie includes amazing acting and a great plot. It also teaches you a few things about the period of the "Industrial Revolution". If you havent seen the 2005 version of Oliver Twist, then rent it. It will NOT dissapoint you. See this now.
Super Reviewer
June 1, 2008
I don't know which fact I find the most astonishing: that somebody thought the world needed yet another adaptation of "Oliver Twist", or that that somebody was Roman Polanski. His version is as respectful as it is respectable, but it's unlikely to captivate anyone already familiar with the story. The digitally tweaked cinematography is not to my taste and, aside from rose-tinting Dickens' abject poverty, the harsh sunlight of the first half suggests that Polanski has been in extradition-wary exile from England so long that he's forgotten our climate! Little more than a puppet for the story's four genuinely interesting characters (Fagin, Bill Sykes, Nancy and the Artful Dodger) to toy with, Oliver is traditionally a thoroughly dull hero, though Barney Clark is especially weak in the role here; the rest of the cast are fine, if unremarkable. If the whole barely satisfies, there are incidental pleasures for the sharp-eyed, such as Oliver's brief, upward glance at the rope from which Bill Sykes will swing as the Dodger ushers him to meet Fagin.
Super Reviewer
December 27, 2007
A somewhat flat but correct adaptation of Dicken's classic tale. Ben Kingsley plays an amazing Fagin. but Barney Clark needed to apply more feeling to his performance. Polanski shaped a lighter portrait of victorian England.
Super Reviewer
October 10, 2007
From what I remember of Charles Dickens book (which I read 40 years ago), this movie is true to the book. The movie is OK, nothing special
Super Reviewer
½ July 5, 2006
A better-than-expected adaptation of the classic Dickens novel. Roman Polanski does a great job at bringing new life into this story. Although you may know all about the plot and characters from previous adaptations (nothing much is changed in this version), at least watch this film for the amazing cinematography and art direction.
Super Reviewer
April 12, 2009
It has a nice story, as well as the film. Really touching and moving. I loved its dark theme. A real classic.
Super Reviewer
½ February 7, 2011
I somehow overlooked that Roman Polanski made this movie. It is interesting that Dickins' Oliver is the same age in the novel as Polanski was in 1943 when he was left in the Krakow ghetto. Dickins was sent to a workhouse at a similar age. Despite success later in life, none of them were able to put those horrors behind them. What is particularly interesting about Polanski's film is the idea that some people who may be bad or viewed as bad can do good things and be kind.
johnattridge
Super Reviewer
½ December 22, 2008
It would never seem appropriate, or even moral to call another adaptation of a Dickens classic 'unnecessary'; nevertheless, that description best encapsulates the viewing experience of Roman Polanski's vision. His film 'Oliver Twist' feels obligatory instead of passionate, conventional rather than an exciting re-imagining of the adventure, and completely lacking in spirit. It is certainly faithful to the source material, but an audience needs more, and the novel deserves better.

There is little need to reiterate the famous story, and Polanski sticks closely to what viewers know best, including Carol Reed's famous 1968 musical version. In fact, that seems his main source of inspiration. Other than a slight change in voice, Ben Kingsley's performance is nothing more than a poor impersonation of the infamous Ron Moody characterisation, and the scene-by-scene reconstruction of the plot bears more than a passing resemblance to Reed's screenplay. The final result, however, greatly differs in quality.

To call the entire production pantomime is no compliment, but this 'Oliver Twist' feels beneath such a label. It is rarely that enjoyable. At least half of the film is no more than overstuffed caricature, while the rest consists of placid and unnatural drama. Jamie Foreman lacks the chilling gaze or ability to instil any fear as Sykes. The effort is there, but the actor has been awfully miscast. Without an effective Sykes, there is no chief villain, and therefore little is ever at stake. Other cast members are passable, but none stand-out as excellent.

The problem with the narrative is a distinct lack of atmosphere; nearly the entire picture is static. Even in dramatic episodes, Reed's version always eagerly involves the viewer. We feel the anticipation every time as Oliver is led through those alleys to Fagin's den; we feel the daring excitement and fear as Oliver fails his first pick-pocketing session; and we are always alight with the desperate, futile hope that Nancy can escape London Bridge. 'Oliver Twist' lacks tension, it doesn't take risks and characters are pre-drawn stereotypes.

The excessive and interruptive score does little to curb the films lurches of irritability. It seems intent on hinting at how the audience should be reacting. Even the production values aren't up to scratch; while well made, I have never seen such clean and tidy Victorian streets. It fits with the pantomime mood, but perhaps such small quibbles wouldn't be picked up in if the story engaged properly. Things improve a little in the climatic finale; as Fagin and his boys flee the police, despite all precursory notion of failure, I felt a brief but strong desire to urge them on. It is a short requiem, but I feel obliged to acknowledge occasionally, Polanski's skill shines through.

It comes down to the fact that 'Oliver Twist' is an effort to sit through. Polanski has crafted an adaptation that requires a lot of patience, yet it never springs alive. Despite some brief respite and beautiful scenery, all that awaits is disappointment at the end of a very long road. You would never guess the man directed 'The Pianist' only a few years earlier. The lack of suspense in the script and lack of energy in the direction means such a great piece of fiction ends up little less than a mediocre regurgitation; best stick with the songs instead.
Super Reviewer
½ October 14, 2007
We've seen this done so many times before and there really isn't anything especially original about this one.
March 18, 2011
I was really enjoying this movie, the way it was filmed, almost Tim Burton like, and the story, characters, etc., and then it just ended. It seems like the ending was rushed and that ruined it for me. I was like wtf, it's over???
September 13, 2010
Roman Polanski's film version of Oliver Twist is one of the more accurate presentations of the novel on film and is certainly one of the most atmospheric.

Barney Clark is superb as the young Oliver, making his character innocent and vulnerable without ever being too sickly sweet.

It is Ben Kingsley's turn as Fagin though that steals the film and gives it much of its energy and poignancy. His characterization is complex, at times powerful and at other times quite pathetic. Compared to the vicious Bill Sykes, played with growly relish by Jamie Foreman, Fagin even becomes sympathetic at points - quite an achievement considering some of the things the character does in the novel.

Overall, this well-cast and beautifully shot film is one of the better adaptations of the novel and definitely worth a look.
July 12, 2010
The film reimagines Dickens' classic with stellar performances and lavish sets, but with a story that's been done a gazillion times, this film adds nothing new. If you're teen feels he/she is too old for the musical, this film is almost as entertaining.
½ June 24, 2010
I might've liked it more if I hadn't seen the Timothy Spall one on the tele last year. The unmistakably amazing Roman Polanski directs Charles Dickens' classic novel, starring Barney Clark as the title role. Clark, after escaping a brutal life from the workship to the house of a kind man but tyranical wife, is picked up off the streets by Ben Kingsley, the odd, elderly leader of a band of young pickpockets, and his best theif, Harry Eden. Kingsley and his more brutal, coldhearted affiliate Jamie Foreman teach Clark the ways of the crimelife but soon abandon him for their own sake and he is narrowly rescued by the kind and wealthy Edward Hardwicke. But Kingsley and Foreman soon find him, with the reluctant help of the sweet, loveable Leanne Rowe, and a slew of trouble ensues Oliver Twist and co. Kingsley is at his best since 'Gandhi' with his wretched, greedy, old cripple performance and Rowe, an actress out of nowhere, gives a surprisingly excellent performance as the ill-doing but good-intending, unfortunate young woman forced to do as Foreman commands. Besides Rowe and Kingsley, the rest of the cast gives good performances, as Polanski demands, but not memorable ones. Foreman's turn as a merciless killer is as expected from any other actor to do in that role under Polanski, with Mark Strong as his polar opposite partner: colorful, flashy, and playful. Strong's performance, though small and in a forgettable role, is as good or better than any other could give. Eden is a young actor with a bright future in the business, but he hasn't shown his face in much since. In a world that seems out to get him, Oliver Twist comes across some good souls every once in a while: legal man in the beginning, Mr. Sowerberry, an elderly woman by the road, the sweethearted Leanne Rowe, a bookseller, and the forgiving Edward Hardwicke. No complaints about the adapted screenplay. B+
½ February 27, 2010
awful roman polanski shoud have been sued for making this rubbish peice of gruel remake it is very crappy and a peice of shit even oliver twist would hat even charles dickens was still alive he would be very pissed at these son of a bitches for making this film
½ December 19, 2009
It's unfortunate that I was swayed by some and did not give this movie a chance when it first came out. This was an artful interpretation of Dickens' masterpiece. The scenes were chillingly realistic and the film beautifully expressed how good and evil are never black and white but varying shades of grey. A true Polanski gem.
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