The Offence - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Offence Reviews

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½ July 31, 2016
Don't know what the hell to make of this. It thinks it's much cleverer than it actually is, and Connery is way, way out of his depth. But Lumet kind of makes it interesting, even if it's quite clearly based on a stage play. I really, I just, I have no idea.
July 10, 2015
This packed a serious punch.
March 22, 2015
One of the more obscure films that Sean Connery starred in during the 1970s. I have heard that the film was made prior to Diamonds Are Forever (1971) but released by UA internationally as part of a deal to get Connery to play James Bond again. Spoiler alert ahead but this is not a thriller but a character study despite how it might be packaged. It is adapted from a John Hopkins stage play and directed by American Sidney Lumet. Connery plays a British police detective sergeant who beats a suspected child molester to death during a routine interrogation. Connery plays the previously unflappable British cop who undergoes a nervous breakdown before our eyes with a great deal of skill, the man could act. We are never completely certain why Connery's character snaps, in a series of Rashamon-style flashbacks we get several different competing versions of the truth, from Connery's character. Was he a burned-out cop who saw too much and snapped or did he beat the suspect to purge himself of his own guilt over his hidden tendencies? Connery appears in control but glimpses of his deeply troubled psyche come out n interactions with his suffering wife (Vivien Merchant), a police inspector (Trevor Howard), and the suspect himself (Ian Bannen). Despite Connery's performance, the film is too stagey in parts and there is a lot of padding with a silent Connery stalking the streets of an unnamed British city. Its worth a look for Connery's unsettling performance, especially in his interaction with Bannen when you realize you are watching two men who both need serious psychiatric help.
½ March 16, 2015
I decided to watch this movie because Christopher Nolan said in an interview that it's one of his favorite movie. I could see that he was probably influenced by The Offence. There's the interrogation scene between Johnson and Baxter which recalls a lot the interrogation room scene between the Joker and the Batman from The Dark Knight. First of all Baxter's continuous mocking laugh recalls Joker's laugh. Then Johnson, a man of justice, must break his rules and beat to death Baxter, just like Batman almost does with Joker. Besides these "Dark Knight" similarities it's a great psychological thriller, about a man and his inside demons (Johnson). How long can a man stand all those horrors he sees daily, before he becomes insane and loses his grip? It's a depressing movie in the end. There's no happy end, you have a sense of discomfort in the end...
December 1, 2014
The movie was very slow paced and droned on and it got boring pretty quickly, I still watched over an hr of it though, (then I had to skip to the end). Pretty disappointing movie I expected it to have a little bit more action at least. The acting was decent, but the movie itself seemed cheaply made and relied heavily on Dialogue.
June 22, 2014
Sidney Lumet precisa apenas de um esboço de whodunnit para montar um daqueles thrillers psicológicos que rapidamente fazem pressão sobre o estômago e que só o largam algumas horas depois do filme acabar. Assim é "The Offence": thriller desconfortável, intenso, altamente labiríntico e muito capaz de nos deixar atordoados com toda a luz que lança sobre dois homens com mentes bastante obscuras. O papel de Sean Connery, em duelo contra si próprio, é arrebatador e muito bem secundarizado pelo de Ian Bannen. Mas a chave para chegar a muitos destes méritos está num Sidney Lumet que, mesmo a trabalhar para grandes estúdios, nunca teme a complexificação dos seus personagens ou a falta de um guia moral para orientar o público.
Super Reviewer
½ April 6, 2014
After collaborating with Connery on 'The Hill (excellent) and 'The Anderson Tapes' (good) Lumet again brought the best out of his star in this adaptation of a John Hopkins play. Lumet tries to spice up the story by jumping back and forth in the narrative but the film works best when he lets his actors breath with the script and focus on certain scenes. Connery is excellent here and produces some of his best work. His scenes with Merchant, Howard (who turns up late in the proceedings) and Bannen are tense and beautifully played. The whole thing is probably a little too gritty and TV for some but if you are keen to see some of the best work Connery ever produced then check this out.
½ August 18, 2013
Unsettling Sidney Lumet directed story about Sean Connery as a detective who assaults and kills a child rapist during an interrogation. The film starts with that event and gets progressively creepier as the film them recounts the events and motivations leading up to the incident. Connery got this film made as part of his agreement to return as James Bond in "Diamonds Are Forever."
½ August 26, 2012
shades of 12 angry men from sidney lumet with good performances from connery, trevor howard and the excellent ian bannen
Super Reviewer
March 8, 2012
Lumet exploits cruelly with his (supposedly) artistic skills whether or not intentionally. The actors only added to the torture. For crying out loud, this was a literal offence by a lumetic to this ever innocent part of audience. 0/5 at best.
December 28, 2011
A British cop that has seen too much finally snaps. I'm sure this really packed a punch 40 years ago, but now it seems a bit more ordinary. Still a fascinating artifact. Lumet's atypical over-stylized direction detracts from some great acting.
Super Reviewer
½ October 28, 2011
Impressive work of Sean Connery as Detective Sgt. Johnson, resisting in front of colleagues and in his private life not to spill the cesspool inside his mind. The immersion in this man's shattered mind reminded me vaguely of Guy de Maupassant's short story "Diary of a Madman" in wich a guardian of law and order becomes obsessed with the crimes he has witnessed throughout his life, up to the point that he loses reason, and begins to feel the same drive, thirst of the criminals for harming or killing any other living beings. One thing I criticize are the constant breaks of time and continuity, something I hadn't seen in a pragmatic director -mostly free of gimmicks- like Sidney Lumet, but I value the dim atmosphere he manages to create, and of course the great assemble cast of Ian Bannen, Trevor Howard and Vivien Merchant.
September 24, 2011
Connery take sthe balls to another level
July 20, 2011
Connery gives an exceptional performance in one of his lesser known works, which is a shame as it needs more recognition.
July 11, 2011
Fascinating character film that once again proves that there was no better film director than Lumet at handling two-handed scenes. Connery was never better (or riskier) than he is here and Ian Bannen also excels. The director also scores though, casting the viewer adrift with a kind of anti-cinema game for the most part, while interjecting and fucking with us with pure and tricky little cinematic flashes. It's theatre meets cinema for sure and while it doesn't always work perfectly, the theatrical melodrama adds to the intrigue and disconcerting mood of the piece. The Offence is a film that will stay with you long after the credits roll.
½ June 18, 2011
Tremendous performance from Connery and a stunning teaser bit, but it lost me a bit in the middle. Some of the cuts and effects were a nuisance, but others worked really well to provide the illusion of a fractured mind. I'm still kind of confused as to what actually happened, but I think it's supposed to leave you that way.
Super Reviewer
May 3, 2011
If you take a look at some of the other movies Sean Connery was making during and immediately after his tenure as James Bond, they reveal an actor working desperately hard not to be typecast. His roles of this period include a frustrated poet, a scheming would-be inheritor, a prisoner in a British army glasshouse, a master thief and an Irish-American terrorist. And in perhaps the ultimate subversion of Bond's reputation as a lady-killer, Alfred Hitchcock cast him in Marnie as the man who blackmails Tippi Hedren's titular kleptomaniac into marriage and then rapes her.

By the end of the Sixties, Connery had broken away from the 007 franchise and was free to pick and choose the parts he wanted to play, yet he returned to the fold for Diamonds Are Forever just four years after quitting. Why? Well, the obvious answer would be: for the money. And it's true, he did squeeze a fortune out of United Artists - an estimated $15.9 million, adjusted for inflation. But perhaps the clincher was United Artists' promise to finance two modestly budgeted projects of Connery's own choosing. The second of these, a proposed adaptation of Macbeth, was thwarted by the release of the Roman Polanski version and never went into production, but Connery's other pet project, an adaptation of a more recent play, John Hopkins' This Story of Yours, became Sidney Lumet's The Offence.

In addition to its curiosity value as a small film without which a much bigger picture might never have been made, The Offence is a superb movie in its own right and deserves to be better known. I would actually rate this as my second favourite of Lumet's films - after Dog Day Afternoon, in case you're interested - and Connery's performance in it as being among his finest work. He plays Detective Sergeant Johnson, a burned-out policeman obsessively hunting a child molester in a ghastly unspecified New Town. In the aftermath of the latest attack, a dishevelled and agitated man, played by Ian Bannen, is brought in for questioning. Johnson is convinced of the man's guilt and decides to extract a speedy confession, with tragic consequences.

Lumet is regarded as an actors' director, not really known for possessing an elaborate style, but with the fractured narrative, the flashes back and forth in time, the slow motion and dream sequences, he really pulls out all the stops here to make the material as cinematic as possible. The way in which Johnson is haunted, not so much by the terrible things he has witnessed but by his imaginative ability to see the world through his quarry's eyes - the very thing that makes him good at his job - prefigures Michael Mann's Manhunter by well over a decade. The Offence also bears interesting comparison with another film of 1972, coincidentally also made in England by an American and adapted from a stage play, Joseph L. Mankiewicz's Sleuth. Both of these pictures centre on a duel to the death in which, perversely, it is the winner who forfeits his life.
½ April 26, 2011
Director Sidney Lumet made several films in the United Kingdom during his long and brilliant career.

This is perhaps his least known but is also one of his best containing as it does a fanastic central performance from Connery that deserves to be better known.

Connery plays Sgt Johnson a man who has seen far too much during his police career and whos demons race around in his head while trying to catch a suspected child molester.

During the interview of the suspect ,his rage bolis over and he kills the man in his custody.

What follows is Connerys breakdown as he loses it with his wife and then an Inspector called in to review the case.

Lumet places the murder towards the end of the film allowing Connery and Ian Bannen as the suspect to put on an acting masterclass as each one plays off against the other revaling both their flaws in a way that only Lumet could do with actors.

Thats not to say the film is a 2 hander we also get great performances from Trevor Howard as the inspector and Vivien Merchant as Connerys downtroden and confused wife.

Lumet opens up writer John Hopkins play to masterful effect setting the film in one of the gleaming newtowns of the 60s which has the threat of violence hanging around its desolate streets.

The director uses all the tools in his locker to create quite possibly one of the most underated gems of the 70s and at the same time he gets a career best performance from Connery.

Powerful and Brilliant stuff this still has the power to disturb.
April 18, 2011
There are two things that will make or break this film for you. The first is in my opinion the greatest performance Sean Connery has ever given, which constantly risks veering too far into melodrama, but is delivered with such steely-eyed conviction that the result demands respect. Also, there's the film's structure, flashing back and forth through time surrounding a crucial central event, as well as employing some subjective editing effects that can be alienating at first. This film would have worked perfectly well as a straightforward narrative told in a linear way, but I think the continuous re-framing of perspective and assumptions makes all the difference in this story of a man who has literally been broken by his job. Besides the artful flourishes, the cinematography is simply impeccable. Almost the entire film consists of people talking in featureless rooms, and if you need to make a scene like that work, all you have to do is call Sidney Lumet. His camera seamlessly and invisibly communicates shifts in dominance, changes in emotion, no effort is spared to put the camera exactly where it's needed. This film was a favour to Connery, and with good reason, because it was a risk. They don't make movies like this every day. It's far easier to take a character like this, who clearly has some basis in reality, and either flatly and simplistically condemn him, or completely dehumanize him by turning him into an emotionless badass with a .45 magnum. The reward for all that risk is a big, fat slab of drama that does well by everyone in it.
March 1, 2011
The Offence proudly boasts the best and most variegated performance I have ever seen Sean Connery give. That alone makes the movie worth seeing; he makes an interesting film choice and completely sheds himself of the James Bond hero image for which he is best known. And, as is to be expected of Sidney Lumet, his technical skills as a director are always marvelous. I do believe the film could have done with some cutting here and there to make it a little more streamlined as some sections seem to drag. This is not a happy movie; there is no dark humor, no sarcastic winking, no cynical mirth as in many of Lumet's other pieces. This is a very dark and dank character study (I do so love character studies) of a cop who cracks in the worst possible way; the insidious and invidious parts of the job have penetrated the very being of Sgt. Johnson in a way that makes him not a helluva lot better than the perhaps-pedophile he kills. I don't know why this movie is not more recognized in Lumet's oeuvre or Connery's filmography.
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