11/23/2017  
Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Jennifer Esposito Is Your Newest NCIS Agent in Season 1...
Critics Are Split on Ghostbusters Reboot ...
'Respect is key': The Game, Snoop Dogg lead march to LA...
Kristen Stewart's Sheer Dress At 'Equals' Premiere -- S...
"A Slow Slipping Away"-- Kris Kristofferson's Long-Undi...
Fox News' Roger Ailes Sued for Sexual Harassment by Ous...
Garrison Keillor Retires from 'Prairie Home Companion' ...
Jennifer Aniston is Pregnant: Star Steps Out in Loose D...
Hiddleswift Is One Big Song Promotion -- A Theory...
Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley files for ...





Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents
Oliver Twist (2005)

"Such a nice lad. I have a feeling he'll turn out a hard worker."
- Fagin (Ben Kingsley)

Review By: Jeff Wilson   
Published: January 24, 2006

Stars: Ben Kingsley, Jamie Foreman, Barney Clark
Other Stars: Harry Eden, Edward Hardwicke, Mark Strong, Leanne Rowe
Director: Roman Polanski

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for disturbing images
Run Time: 02h:10m:15s
Release Date: January 24, 2006
UPC: 043396130654
Genre: drama


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ C+A-A- B+

DVD Review

Roman Polanski's follow-up to his Oscar-winning The Pianist, Oliver Twist would seem an unsurprising choice for the director, given its general tale of innocence placed amidst a corrupt world. The film was a bomb in general release here, pulling in just $1.9 million against a budget of more than $60 million. Audiences clearly weren't interested, but that's never a valid judgment of a film's worth. So the new DVD release allows us to re-assess, and see if the general public had it right the first time.

The story, adapted from Charles Dickens' classic novel by Ronald Harwood, tells of the titular character (Barney Clark), an orphan sent to the workhouse. He is indentured to an undertaker, where, after cruel treatment, he runs away to London. He is taken in by Fagin (Ben Kingsley), the ringleader of a band of kiddie thieves, and Oliver is quick to want to finally fit in somewhere. But when a job goes bad and Oliver winds up taken in by Mr. Brownlow (Edward Hardwicke), a wealthy philanthropist, Oliver has second thoughts. He finds that leaving the life he so recently yearned for is harder than it seems, as Fagin and the crooked, psychotic Bill Sikes (Jamie Foreman) drag him back into the fold.

The film is handsomely mounted, and well-acted, but it does lack a certain something. Perhaps its chief flaw is the portrayal of Oliver. Clark does what he's supposed to do well enough, but it's the way in which the character of the boy is written that is the problem. Oliver is a bystander in his own story, which is perhaps more interesting to read than to watch. He rarely takes action, aside from choosing to leave for London. Too often, Oliver reacts to others deciding his fate for him, and usually does so feebly at that. The forces massed against him are simply too great for the lad to make much headway. Polanski has made other films about innocents led astray, where the lamb is led to the slaughter, and it's barely alleviated here. By the story's end, Oliver seems more haunted and disturbed than he did at the beginning, and the final embrace of sorts between he and Brownlow doesn't give much assurance that Oliver is going to turn out a well-adjusted person.

The world Polanski creates for Oliver is a fairly black-and-white one; characters are, almost to a man, self-interested and eager to put one over on someone else to get ahead. Oliver's unconscious influence and general good nature brings about his eventual salvation, but his appears to be a unique case. Once Sikes and Fagin get what's coming to them, we see no more of Fagin's gang of kiddie thieves and can only imagine their presumably grim fates. As Sikes, Foreman doesn't have much to do beyond acting like a mindless thug (Sikes' only moods in the film are angry and dangerously angry), but he does look the part. Kingsley's Fagin has some nuance to his personality and is vastly enjoyable to watch, and the script is careful to omit any mention of his being Jewish, though his appearance retains the typical Fagin look. The kids comprising Fagin's gang all do their jobs admirably, without any offputting cutesiness.

I'm not aware of how the film went over with the hardcore Dickens crowd, but it seems to me that Dickens is best served on television, where his long, dense narratives can be given a fuller treatment. Condensed and pared down as it surely is here, Oliver Twist provides diverting entertainment, but left this viewer otherwise unmoved.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: C+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Anamorphically enhanced in its original ratio of 2.35:1, Oliver Twist looks excellent, with a crisp, detailed transfer. Night scenes, of which there are plenty, look clean and free of any major artifacting.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
English, Frenchyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby 5.1 track does a nice job, with some moderately active surrounds. Rachel Portman contributes an unobtrusive score that provides most of the sonic action here.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French with remote access
0 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Fun With Dick and Jane, The Pink Panther, The Da Vinci Code, Open Season, The Baxter
2 Documentaries
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: unmarked keepcase
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The chief item amongst the extras is the making-of documentary, Twist by Polanski (28m:35s), which interviews all the principals and covers the film from its initial conception through the production. It's all lovey-dovey like most of these "making-ofs" are, but interesting nonetheless, especially in terms of the film's subsequent failure. In The Best of Twist (17m:47s), we get yet more production footage and discussion, this time looking at specific elements of the film, including sets, design, and photography. It underscores the massive effort needed to mount a film of this type. Kidding with Oliver Twist: Barney Clark's Diary (05m:41s) covers some of Clark's memories, read directly from his own diary, by Clark, with footage from the film and shoot. A nice touch and it doesn't overstay its welcome. Trailers for several other Sony films are included, but strangely, none for the film on the disc.

Extras Grade: B+

 

Final Comments

Handsome to look at and well-acted, Oliver Twist comes off lacking heart and genuine emotion. Oliver runs through a gauntlet of cruelty and evil and comes out the other end looking shell-shocked and battered. Polanski claimed to want to make a film for his children, but this isn't it. The DVD presents the film in a crisp and vivid transfer, with a handful of decent extras to go with it.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

television, jennifer esposito, blue bloods, ncis, mark harmon. duane henry, wilmer valderrama, michael weatherly, bull, movie, ghostbusters, comedy, chris helmsworth, melissa mcarthy, kristen wiig, celebrity, rap, game, shoop dogg, jayceon terrell taylor, alton sterling, kristen stewart, equals, jonathan simkhal, nicholas hoult, music, kris kristofferson, country music hall of fame, alzheimers, lyme disease, fox news, gretchen carlson, fox and friends, steve doocy, roger ailes, the real story with gretchen carlson, radio, garrison keillor, a prairie home companion, jennifer anniston, baby bump, justin theroux, taylor swift, tom hiddleston, calvin harris, lisa marie presley, michael lockwood, riley and benjamin keough, danny keough, michael jackson, nicolas cage, tom affleck, boston fan, bill simmons, hbo show, any given wednesday, tom brady, deflategate, hamilton, lin-manuel mianda, periscope, heart tweet machine, hamilton mixtape, cable, hbo, curb your enthusiasm, larry david, bernie sanders, saturday night live, maya and marty, christina grimmie, murdered, plaza live, before you exit, marcus grimmie, nashville, cmt, president brian phillips, the tonight show, jimmy fallon, president obama, the roots, hillary clinton, tim mcgraw, faith hill, maggie mcgraw, humble and kind, ellen degeneres show, titi pierce, coldwell banker robbins & free realty, hairspray live!, tracy turnblad, york theatre company, john waters, jennifer hudson, harvey fierstein, martin short, derek hough, j.k. rowling, harry potter and the cursed child, noma dumezweni, emma watson, judd apatow, paul freig, melissa mccarthy, romance, history channel, roots, remake, anika noni rose, t.i., malachi kirby, josh duhamel, transformers, fergie, black eyed peas, axl, double dutchess, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked

On Facebook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store