Oliver Twist Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.