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The Crime (The Sweeney)
U.K. 2012

Opening 28 Feb 2013

Directed by: Nick Love
Writing credits: John Hodge, Nick Love, Ian Kennedy Martin
Principal actors: Damian Lewis, Hayley Atwell, Allen Leech, Ray Winstone, Mark Killeen

Jack Regan (Ray Winstone) leads the rapid response team of officers of the Metropolitan Police Service’s elite Flying Squad – the Sweeney (a musical [1979] is based on a play [1973] Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street) from a penthouse-like office overlooking London. With an impressive capture record, that they operate, ah, somewhat outside the acceptable codes of law enforcement is irrelevant to them. Joining the Met, i.e. New Scotland Yard, young George Carter (Ben Drew) turned his back on a life of crime, and under Jack’s tutelage his record is exemplary. Team member Nancy (Hayley Atwell) enjoys being under Jack, whether in bed, a car, or wherever.

Internal Affairs sends Ivan Lewis (Steven Mackintosh) to scrutinize the Sweeney, thus Jack’s superior Frank (Damian Lewis) mandates he wants no surprises. But Jack and Lewis are conflicted knowing one is screwing the other’s estranged wife Nancy. In due course the Sweeney are called to a crime-in-progress, where they come a cropper: a bank heist evolves into a foot chase through Trafalgar Square, with guns blazing and dire results. Jack ends up in the slammer, where he could rot as far as Lewis is concerned. Except that George, following one of Jack’s hunches, and together with Jack’s wizened sometime informant-accomplice Harry (Alan Ford) steps in.

Inspired by a ‘70s British TV series, this raw no-brainer flick is not for the squeamish; the car chases alone are gut wrenching, it is riddled with profanity, and the whole bunch – villains and cops alike – cheekily use brute force every chance they get. Directing this rather predictable tale, chockfull with incongruities, is Nick Love. When used, Lorne Balfe’s original music definitely heightens the clashes; equally commendable are the able thespians that save the saga, and the cockney English – with German subtitles – is mostly understandable. If you like movies packed with action and not to be taken seriously, The Crime’s an enjoyable diversion. (Marinell Haegelin)

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