The Offence


New York-based director Sidney Lumet took a trip to the UK to make this taut 1972 movie, bringing with him his perennial fascination with police procedures and their potential for violence and corruption. There's a starry supporting cast - Trevor Howard, Vivien Merchant, Peter Bowles - but essentially this is a two-hander.

Sean Connery, a snarled knot of festering rage, is the investigating cop; Ian Bannen never better as the suspected child molester he's interrogating. As their charged exchanges spiral downwards into catastrophe, Lumet ups the claustrophobia to palm-sweating levels as the boundaries between truth and guilt shift and merge.

Based on a stage play by John Hopkins (the guiding spirit behind Z Cars), The Offence is minor Lumet and more than once comes perilously close to melodrama. Thanks to its two compelling lead performances, though, it's rarely less than gripping.

Film Details

  • 18
  • UK Theatrical Release Date: October 4th 2004

User Reviews

    • milesahead

      Oct 3rd 2013, 4:24

      This is a five star film. Melodrama is not in and of itself necessarily a bad thing, it is a style of acting or storytelling where everything is heightened. You may or may not like that style but to use it as a necessarily derogatory term is lazy. "Melodrama is a much maligned genre. And I hope we can bring it back into fashion. I always think of melodrama as the thing we are all capable of that's swept under the rug." Sidney Lumet

      Alert a moderator

Most Popular