Director: Roman Polanski
Starring: Ben Kingsley, Barney Clark
RunTime: 2 hrs 10 mins
Released By: Shaw
Day: 10 November 2005
An adaptation of the classic Dickens tale,
where an orphan meets a pickpocket on the streets of London.
From there, he joins a household of boys who are trained to
steal for their master.
More than a decade. That was how long since my first read
of the classic novel “Oliver Twist” by one of
the greatest authors, Charles Dickens. The fascination to
watch the various interesting, unforgettable characters (name
a few: Mr. Sowerberry, Mr Bumble, Mr Brownlow, brutal Bill
Sykes, Fagin, of course Oliver) from the paperwork being instantaneously
brought to life on big screen goes beyond word description.
Let this cast of wonderful actors, young and old, though of
less fame here, impress you greatly with their performance
and perhaps lead you to pick up the book to read it.
Roman Polanski, with his screenplay writer Ronald Harwood
and production designer Allan Starski (all formerly behind
award-winning “The Pianist”), once again collaborated
to delight the audience with this thrilling tale of good fighting
against evil. A certainly well adapted version that retains
the humour with the occasional quips and surprises.
would witness the class barriers, social prejudice and the
unfortunate exploitation of poor people due to flawed government
policy implemented in the name for the goodness, all which
rotted the flourishing London city. Seems as though survival
is the law of the land.
grandeur of its upmarket Pentonville with its horse drawn
carriages, myriad of cobblestone streets and the squalor of
the slum area Jacob’s Island in the mid 19th Century
were successfully recreated with the spectacular sets.
central character, Oliver Twist, a poor, miserable orphan
boy is played by Barney Clark. Looking at his teary gaze of
innocence and honesty, hearing his little voice quivering
with fear, audience would helplessly fall into the depths
of his sadness and feel for him.
rest of the young actors, artful Doger (Harry Eden), Charley
Bates (Lewis Chase), part of the gang of pickpockets, led
by the sinister Fagin (Sir Ben Kingsley, best supporting actor
in “Schindler’s List”), are equally outstanding.
Sparks of chemistry between young Barney and aged Sir Kingsley
is truly evident, especially in the few precious yet vital
scenes that they shared. Director Polanski portrays another
side of Fagin, slightly different from the novel. Fagin was
in fact a sympathetic soul himself, though he was responsible
for training the boys into pickpockets so that he could live
off their loot. But he had the fondness for Oliver and cared
for him like a father, and could have left him behind but
chose not to.
and murderous Bill Sykes (Jamie Foreman, thuggish constable
in “Sleepy Hollow”) both belonged to the seedy
underworld of crime. Yet both served a contrast. Fagin was
a helpless criminal, wedged in the grey of goodness and badness
while Sykes represented the extreme evil side, robbing and
killing mercilessly. However, Fagin ultimately still needed
to pay for his fair share of misdeed.
Twist” brings a live dimension with an arguably difference,
of all the seemingly familiar characters with a touching sentiment.
Let it be a refreshing recollection or exploring experience.
this touching "Oliver Twist" be a refreshing recollection
or exploring experience for you)
by Alicia Tee