The Offence on DVD/Blu-ray

Sunday, 19 April 2015 23:00 Written by 

The Offence - Out Now on Dual Format Blu-ray and DVDSean Connery leaves behind his Walther PPK and shoulders a world of mental turmoil in this brutal thriller from director Sidney Lumet ("12 Angry Men", "A Dog Day Afternoon"). Connery is Detective Sergeant Johnson, a hard-boiled cop who has been involved in decades of terrible cases and is at breaking point. When a likely paedophile is arrested, Johnson interrogates and then accidentally beats the suspect to death in a fit of rage.

Baxter, the suspect (Ian Bannen - "The Hill"), was found wandering in a drunken state hours after a serial offender's last victim was found, alive but seriously shaken.  Johnson is convinced that the man in custody is the culprit and refuses to patiently let proper procedure take its course. Consequently he finds himself on the wrong end of the law, interviewed by Detective Superintendant Cartwright (Trevor Howard - "Ghandi", "The Third Man").

Connery gives a career-best performance as the bristling, sheepskin-coat-wearing, tormented policeman who finally succumbs to the weight of all the mutilated corpses and human misery he has witnessed. Bannen is terrific as his disturbed and demented quarry, alternately gibbering and burrowing into Johnson's mind as he identifies with the man on the other side of the desk.

Vivien Merchant ("Alfie") is also excellent as Maureen Johnson, the unappreciated and miserable cop's wife. It is a credit to Howard that he manages to stand up to Connery both in acting prowess and through his character.

The film manages to make what is, predominantly, a single-room drama riveting from start to finish, partly by mixing up the time-line. It opens with slow-motion footage of policemen bursting into the interview room, with Johnson towering over Baxter's prone body, and then rewinds to the discovery of the young female victim. A couple of trips are made to the key interrogation, gradually revealing all the juicy details that lead to Johnson flipping out.

I whole-heartedly recommend this film; on Blu-ray, the gritty, grimy world of contemptible criminals and unhinged coppers is even better.

Special features include:

  • New 1080p presentation of the film on the Blu-ray
  • Optional English SDH for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
  • 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 booklet 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" (1972) is out now on dual-format DVD and Blu-ray (two discs), courtesy of Eureka. The main feature has a running time of 112 minutes approx, carries a '15' certificate and retails for £17.99, or less from


Last modified on Monday, 20 April 2015 11:44

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