DVD Review: The Offence

The Offence

Sidney Lumet had a glittering career, making over fifty films spanning six decades. Beginning with the classic 12 Angry Men in 1957, he’s gone on to make such brilliant films as Serpico, Network, Dog Day Afternoon and The Verdict. In a rich period in the ’70s he was one of the most consistent and influential American film directors of that period. In 1972 he released The Offence. Based on a stage play it starred the then James Bond, Sean Connery, who was at the time one of the hottest actors in Hollywood.

Detective Sergeant Johnson (Connery) has been on the force for 20 years but has become deeply affected by the violent and sexual crimes he’s investigated. Whilst interrogating Kenneth Baxter (Ian Bannen), a suspect in a child rape case, his anger gets the better of him; beating Baxter to death. After being suspended, Johnson is interrogated the following day by Detective Superintendent Cartwright (Trevor Howard), during which we see glimpses of the night he killed Baxter.

Taking on the role of Johnson was a brave choice by Sean Connery, who clearly wanted something a bit more challenging than the Bond roles. The subject matter is a tricky one, but he does a great job of portraying a policemen on the verge, whilst battling with his inner demons. There’s an impressive support cast and Lumet uses some great techniques to chart his inner turmoil, using flashbacks and clever visual imagery.

Special Features:

Optional English SDH for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
New 1080p presentation of the film on the Blu-ray
Optional isolated music and effects track
Video interview with stage director Christopher Morahan
Video interview with assistant art director Chris Burke
Video interview with costume designer Evangeline Harrison
Video interview with composer Sir Harrison Birtwistle
Original theatrical trailer
36-page booklets featuring a new essay on the film by critic Mike Sutton, a vintage interview about the film with Sidney Lumet, and rare archival imagery

The Offence is released on Dual Format by Eureka as part of their Masters of Cinema collection on May 20.

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