The Offence

The Offence

DVD - 2010
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After 20 years on the police force, Detective Sergeant Johnson has seen too much. One day while interrogating a snide, sarcastic suspect in a child molestation case, all of his pent up anger and hatred surfaces and Johnson loses control, killing the man. What had started out as a routine investigation has turned into a case of police brutality, and Johnson must now attempt to reconcile his own violent behaviour.
Publisher: United States : Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, [2010]
Copyright Date: ©2010
Branch Call Number: OFF
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (approximately 108 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.

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biffblack
Feb 11, 2018

Where to begin??? "The Offence" must have seemed tough-minded in 1973, unless it didn't. The movie plants all sorts of suggestions that the seemingly upright police detective Connery is, in fact, the criminal he seeks, then dodges the issue. But even if the ambiguity was believably presented -- which it isn't -- "The Offence" would still be a fiasco. Sure, there are flashes, moments, seconds here and there that hint at... something, but then the bad script, the promiscuous direction by Sidney Lumet, in tandem with the relentless visual ugliness (deliberately crappy lighting), all sink the picture and its imagined integrity. If anything, this lurid, offensive, yet occasionally compelling mess predates Friedkin's "Cruising" by a full 7 years. Connery never was a judge of scripts. After a decade as Bond, this movie was supposed to be his stretch, and yet it seems today (and maybe then) like too easy an out: the taciturn cop who's obviously deranged. But is he or isn't he a child rapist? The movie brings this up then avoids clarity -- why? About 44 minutes in, there's a bizarre montage inserted of all sorts of kink violent images so the movie can earn its R rating. The toucan or parrot nibbling on the jugular vein of some corpse's arm I still cannot figure out in the context of this story. But never mind -- everything here is meant to be a button-pushing shocker for its own sake. Trevor Howard gets second billing, yet he's in the movie for 15 minutes, and he's the best thing about this sordid, grim ordeal as a superintendent who grills Connery. Vivien Merchant, who a year earlier stole the show in Hitchcock's Frenzy, has a thankless role here as Connery's verbally & psychologically abused wife. "Why aren't you beautiful?" he asks her. Well, contrast THAT to the repeatedly spliced in shots of a quivering teenage girl, and I guess we have all our answers that this wretched, appalling, ugly movie leaves open-ended.

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