FILM REVIEW by Cecilia Cygnar
Harkening back to the 1970s-style of brutal, gritty, gruff cop movies (Dirty Harry, Brannigan, etc.), The Sweeney is a well-done, well-executed action movie set in London’s fabulously wealthy streets. Based on the British TV series from the 1970s (maybe that’s why they chose the 70s grit style even though it was made in 2012) of the same name, “Sweeney” is short for Sweeney Todd, which is the Cockney slang for “Flying Squad” which is what the British call an elite group of police who specialize in the prevention and investigation of armed robberies. (Cockney, for those who have no clue of how “Sweeney Todd” generated from “Flying Squad,” often uses rhyming nicknames. If you want more info, check out the good Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cockney).
The squad, led by the always excellent, always mesmerizing Ray Winstone, is tough, brutal, plays at the edge of the rules (and the law) but because of this, does its job well. Winstone’s Jack Regan is more troubled than some of his squad, but that usually makes him more effective, until it doesn’t.
I think part of Winstone’s appeal is that he is realistic. He does not look like the latest pin-up heartthrob. He is not young. He is not even a Harrison Ford type…meaning a good looking, attractive older man. He’s got a beer belly. His hairline is receding. He’s an average looking man. Men can relate to that and women also can relate, since they are probably married to someone who looks like this in some way. What Winstone has that most men do not have is charisma. True, honest to goodness charisma. The kind of charisma Jack Nicholson has had throughout his career. The kind that makes men, even men of a certain age irresistible to all…in every way: sexually, professionally, metaphysically, etc. Winstone’s Jack Regan is a tough man with a sensitive soul. No, he never shows it in the movie, but we know it’s there.
Is this the best cop movie ever made? No. But, considering all the others out there, this is a very favorable selection.
The Sweeney: 2012, rated R, 112 minutes, directed by Nick Love, starring Ray Winstone, Ben Drew, Hayley Atwell, Steven Mackintosh and Damian Lewis. The Niles Library owns this title on DVD.About this column: Cecilia Cygnar, the Niles Library's film specialist, reviews movies in the library's collection.
Views expressed by the author do not necessarily represent those of the Trustees or Staff of the Niles Public Library District or of Patch.com.