The Offence

The Offence 
Director: Sidney Lumet
Release Date: 1973
Rating: 15
United Artists 

When you deal with something for a long time, there is always that chance you may crack. Flipping pancakes day by day may result in a fit of frying pan induced rage. For detective Sergeant Johnson (Sean Connery) his life dealing with murders, rape and suicide have left his mind a little fragile. And it starts to cause him problems just when he’s dealing with a child molestation case. Should have taken that holiday.

The Offence starts off as a traditional cop film as Johnson and the rest of the police force hunt for a sick twisted individual who has been meddling with unripened fruit. It isn’t long before they nab the man responsible, or so they think, and it’s at this point that Johnson starts to crack. He beats the accused paedo to a bloody pulp and starts getting a heavy load of images from his past cases, lots of dead bodies and unsettling images of him being nice to kids. But not the nice kind of nice. What went on in that interrogation room is left in the dark till the grand finale, and so we watch this once great detective fall to pieces. Won’t somebody put him back together?

The opening is a little drab, a slow star with plenty of pitch black  night scenes to try and make out and it doesn’t really get moving till Johnson starts to see dead people. In his head; he’s no Cole Sear. The moment he starts to veer on being a mentalist the performances excel and once the interrogation scene finally unravels between himself and the suspect, the film turns into a deep insight into the human psyche. It almost seems intentional that the film starts so typical and ends so screwed up. It’s certainly hard to root for either side in the ways they act, and it leaves the viewer jumping from side to side. Did the suspect do it? What does Johnson truly desire?

The Offence is lucid, has artistic flair and brings out how humans can gain desires you’d never think they’d have. Just don’t let it give you any ideas.


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