Review - Oliver Twist

I was fairly ambivalent with regards to the idea of probably my favourite directors creating a variant of the much beloved traditional tale Oliver Twist. On the one hand Roman Polanski crafts wonderful and moving movies well so I was curious to see how he would weave this one together. From his early 'Knife in the water' to 'The Pianist' each one has his hallmark directorial stamp on it although nonetheless being truly extraordinary and individual films. On the other hand, the Oliver Twist movie version has been screened to death both in two respected films as well as multifarious TV versions in the past. For me David Lean's variation is fantastic, Alec Guinness exceptional as Fagin and also the whole film experience has kept me going back from my childhood to adulthood.


Therefore it was with much trepidation that I went to view this spanking fresh version of the Oliver Twist movie and thankfully I was not unhappy. The character of Fagin, so critical to the tale, is carried out with excellent capability by Ben Kingsley. He really portrays this grotesque but somehow loving persona well from his minor manners and movements to his vocal abilities. Furthermore, finely carried out had been the parts of the artful dodger, Mr Brownlowe and of course Oliver Twist. There was clearly such sadness and despair in his eyes all through that he really captured the portion very well. Much less convincing was Bill Sykes who wasn't right for that part nor performed good enough to stand up against the masterful Oliver Reed in a preceding version. Foreman is often a regular in gangster type films and for me did not truly go with the cast or film well here.
The recreation of middle of the 19th century London is performed well with Polanski illustrating on the visual inspiration of Dore paper prints of the period pertaining to authenticity. The cinematography is as accomplished as always in a Polanski film plus the lighting style aided to create dramatic moods properly.
Overall this Oliver Twist movie is a very competent and entertaining version with great acting, an excellent tempo and an outstanding final scene of Fagin done and soon to face death grasping hold of Oliver tightly. I would highly suggest to adults, youngsters and die hard admirers of other versions. All great directors include different visions and Polanski has utilised his vision and experienced workmanship in effectively remaking this much loved story.
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Article Source:  Mike Mcwilsen 


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