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.