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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Hayley Atwell
Damian Lewis
Ray Winstone
Ben Drew.
Directors
Nick Love.
Screenwriters
John Hodge
Nick Love.
Running Time
112 minutes

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The Sweeney
You're Nick(ed) Love


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Plot
While under scrutiny from Internal Affairs for their unorthodox methods, maverick Flying Squad detectives Jack Regan (Winstone) and George Carter (Drew) investigate a combined robbery and homicide. Inquiries turn up a familiar felon, but their suspect has the perfect alibi...


Review
The Sweeney
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If you're a director with a reputation for making old-fashioned, violent, male-orientated movies who wants to move away from all that, is it smart to launch the new you with a ‘reimagining’ of the most violent, male-orientated British TV series of the ’70s? Surprisingly, Nick Love’s take on Thames TV’s — for its time — quite cinematic cop show delivers more than it promises. The language is coarse and the action harsh, but this is not a macho fantasy basking in retro glories. It stretches logic, and its script is its biggest weakness, but it’s an attempt to do something genuinely different within a very rigid format.

To start with the downside: if you ever thought Hannibal Lecter’s cell-slash-dungeon was a little on the medieval side, you’ll have the opposite problem here. Regan’s (Ray Winstone) team of one-step-up-from-vigilante thugs work in a fishtank of grey, glass and green, veering uncomfortably close at times to a kind of chimps’ tea party being held at the Shard. And in keeping with a film that is struggling to be modern, it often sounds awkward in its old East end language, rife with yoo-wots and, most jarringly, yoo-slaaags.

On the up? Love has made serious headway here. The editing in the film’s key robbery scene is exemplary: in the time it takes Carter’s (Ben Drew) son to finish a school race a jewellery store is robbed, in a scene ending with a brutal, callous murder. Over and done. And the characters are so much more nuanced than in Love’s previous films; in the love triangle here, Winstone’s couldn’t-give-a-fuck detective is definitely the third wheel, pleading desperately with the younger, married, kick-ass love interest as opposed to the other way round. But most of all, the film really moves, from the kinetic open-air Trafalgar Square shoot-out, to the climactic car chase.

The unexpectedly ingenious honey-trap plot also ticks along nicely, and though Ben Drew’s wide-eyed sidekick doesn’t always seem worthy of the trust Regan puts in him, there’s a definite chemistry here. The subtext — the nanny state needs to get tougher — borders on Daily Mail territory but is admirably underplayed. In fact, the only thing truly criminal about The Sweeney is the chance missed to revisit Harry South’s brilliant, jazzy original theme, in itself a swinging, bold-as-brass fusion of new and old.


Verdict
The action’s arresting but the dialogue’s not much cop in this well-played and enjoyable hardboiled British police thriller.


Reviewed by Damon Wise

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Sweeney
Empire Star Rating

RE: The Sweeney

The movie blithely repeats most of the clichés of the American badass-cop flick, only in impenetrable Cockney. ... More

Posted by chang at 12:02, 31 December 2013 | Report This Post


Dross of the highest order

Good Lord this is dire. Whilst the cinematography is decent the plot and the acting drag it down so far. The chubby cheeked chap playing the Carter character was probably the weakest link in that he just looked like a schoolboy playing a part and seemed completely miscast. The characters themselves have no redeeming features meaning that you really want them to get killed or beaten up rather than rooting for them and as anti heroes there still needs to be some form of empathy or appeal which... More

Posted by sanchia at 19:30, 22 September 2013 | Report This Post


WATCHABLE.........

but be warned........this film bears absolutely no resemblence whatsoever to the classic 1970s TV series....... but I liked the niftily staged gun fight in Trafalgar square though - shades of Michael Mann's HEAT - or a direct rip-- off........THREE STARS..... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ROTGUT at 17:45, 19 February 2013 | Report This Post


WATCHABLE.........

but be warned........this film bears absolutely no resemblence whatsoever to the classic 1970s TV series....... but I liked the niftily staged gun fight in Trafalgar square though - shades of Michael Mann's HEAT - or a direct rip-- off........THREE STARS..... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ROTGUT at 17:45, 19 February 2013 | Report This Post


Just good brit greater movie !

This movie has some goods scenes in this movie and good. Performances from. Ben Drew & Ray Winsone. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by soulfood at 21:46, 20 October 2012 | Report This Post


3 Star review!

What was Emipre thinking to give this dross such mighty praise? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by gb901 at 21:37, 16 September 2012 | Report This Post


RE: just awful

L: bretty Oh dear, where to start? This was awful and a terrible reflection on an iconic TV series. A police team that are little more than thugs and not great casting with Winston and even worse with Plan Z or whatever his name is (he talks like a white gangsta and looks like he is 12 years old). So many “huh” moments where the Sweeney and the Police are reflected in a way that is so far from credibility that it made you roll your eyes in dis-belief. We have a London devoid of any... More

Posted by Private Hudson at 21:36, 16 September 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Very VERY poor action thriller

I loved The Sweeney. As in the original TV show. I actually had high hopes for this movie as London looks good in the aerial shots and I thought Ray Winstone would be a good Regan. However, the script is all over the place. It makes no sense whatsoever. Ben Drew seems to find it hard to speak as I can't understand his slurred speech quite a lot of the time. And the villains, well they are underused and not shown to be all that bad. ************SPOILER******************** ... More

Posted by Private Hudson at 21:33, 16 September 2012 | Report This Post


Very VERY poor action thriller

Now that I've seen it as it stands, the more thought I put into this film the more my opinion of it disintegrates further and further. With its repugnant right-wing ethics, the fact that the film's best scenes are copied from both Michael Mann and Chris Nolan, or the fact that Nick Love can't help being Nick Love with his cretinous geezer-worshipping. They acted less like cops or even bent cops and more like Essex bouncers with guns and badges. Oh, and Ben Drew can't act. Period. In fact, ever... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by alsybroth at 08:57, 16 September 2012 | Report This Post


My grade (forgot the first time) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Adrian Veidt at 18:35, 15 September 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Sweeney

I thought this was very disappointing.I was in full agreement with the higher ups who wanted to shut the Sweeney down, they were appalling excuses for policemen. Also, the plot had so many holes I don't even know where to start. The thing that annoyed me most of all was the lack of even the most basic fact checking. There's no such thing as Internal Affairs in the Met, and a policeman's badge is what he wears on his shoulder or his hat. His ID is called a Warrant Card or a Brief. That jarred ... More

Posted by Adrian Veidt at 18:32, 15 September 2012 | Report This Post


poor

given the seemingly good reviews around, this was a big dissapointment. even if you left your brains at the door it wasnt really any fun. I failed to see any real chemistry between regan and carter, very weak plot, poor villain, not gritty enough to be serious and not fun enough to be a popcorn hit. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by mclane1 at 11:13, 15 September 2012 | Report This Post


Worst Movie of 2012

Where to start in this overboiled, tedious, awful movie. Winstone I thought was a great piece of casting but the problem with his character is the dialogue was so hilarious it began to sound as if he was more of the baddie than an actual cop. I thought Ben Drew was probably the worst casting call in the history of movie making, he was so rigid, wooden, that nothing he was saying was actually coming off as believable. (SPOILERS) The second thing was when they did the action in Trafalgar Sq... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by umer_ejaz at 08:19, 15 September 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Wrong casting

L: paulmitchell The casting for regan is spot on BUT carter sounds like a Chav.plan B was fantastic in Harry brown but here we are supposed to believe in a Chav sounding copper,for fuck sake we have Sean Harris who would have been perfect.i just hope they cast Tom hardy as bodie in the professionals movie.please don't fuck that up rew really impressed me. I knew he had directed a film, but I haven't seen Harry Brown and thought this was his first acting job. Carter as an ex-juvenil... More

Posted by demoncleaner at 18:48, 14 September 2012 | Report This Post


Wrong casting

The casting for regan is spot on BUT carter sounds like a Chav.plan B was fantastic in Harry brown but here we are supposed to believe in a Chav sounding copper,for fuck sake we have Sean Harris who would have been perfect.i just hope they cast Tom hardy as bodie in the professionals movie.please don't fuck that up ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by paulmitchell at 15:50, 14 September 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Sweeney

Outrageously obnoxious chav cops working in executive surroundings and living in yuppy-ish banker's digs, The Sweeney is like the night nice middle-class boy Michael Mann threw a high school party in his mum's house and watched appalled as the working class showed up. If you like Michael Mann you may bemoan the insult and find this another British embarrassment. If, on the other hand, you find Mann a devoid of anything to say poseur cunt then there might be something sufficiently subversive i... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by demoncleaner at 08:27, 14 September 2012 | Report This Post


just awful

Oh dear, where to start? This was awful and a terrible reflection on an iconic TV series. A police team that are little more than thugs and not great casting with Winston and even worse with Plan Z or whatever his name is (he talks like a white gangsta and looks like he is 12 years old). So many “huh” moments where the Sweeney and the Police are reflected in a way that is so far from credibility that it made you roll your eyes in dis-belief. We have a London devoid of any people,... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bretty at 21:11, 13 September 2012 | Report This Post


Massively enjoyable.

As gritty as it tries to be, there's a layer of slickness that's constantly pulling the film away from reality. Armed robberies and gunfights with middle-aged men haven't seemed quite this cool outside of a Guy Ritchie flick. This film won't be for everyone, and it's pretty much The Ultimate Ray Winstone Vehicle™, where he gets to play the part he's constantly acting out in his head anyway. There is some amount of substance, but style definitely has the greater share, here. And how many other ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheMightyBlackout at 19:06, 13 September 2012 | Report This Post


http://thoughtburp.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/the-sweeney / ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jakesfake at 13:32, 12 September 2012 | Report This Post


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