Movie Details

OLIVER TWIST

A retelling of the classic Charles Dickens` novel, Oliver Twist (Barney Clark) is an orphan living in London, who finds himself abandoned on the streets. Fagin (Ben Kingsley) and the Artful Dodger (Harry Eden) take Oliver under their wings and adopt him into Fagin`s gang of well-trained street thieves. After he gets caught stealing, Oliver is taken in by the wealthy Mr. Brownlow (Edward Hardwicke) where, instead of being punished, Oliver is brought up like a regular boy.

Language: English
Subtitle: NA
Classification: PG
Release Date: 10 Nov 2005
Genre: Drama / Family
Running Time: 2 Hours 5 Minutes
Distributor: SHAW ORGANIZATION
Cast: Mark Strong
Director:
Format: NA

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Review
Writer: Gareth Goh

Writer Ratings:
Overall:
Cast: NA
Plot: NA
Effects: NA
Cinematography: NA

Watch this if you liked: NA

Seemingly everybody and their mothers-in-law know the famous story of Oliver Twist, the orphan with the heart of gold. Charles Dickens created a literary legend when he penned his famous tome. There have been dozens of big-screen adaptations (and even a few smaller screen ones), Broadway musical performances with boisterous renditions of "Food, glorious food" and an animated TV movie featuring talking cats and dogs. This author even once starred as the titular character in a moving school musical performance. So the question on everybody's mind is, "why make YET another adaptation?"

Simple. The Roman Polanski touch. The Academy-award winning director of the harrowing "The Pianist" creates another dark, brooding and surprisingly-violent scenario here but amidst all this darkness, a certain delectable level of delight abounds, crafted by clever British wit delivered through amusing Cockney accents and led by the orphan's heart of gold that shines oh-so-brightly.

If you've been living under a rock for the past century or so, Oliver Twist (Barney Clark) is an orphan who gets banished from the orphanage for having the audacity to ask for more food. Bouncing from one mistreating apprenticeship to the next, he eventually runs away to London, latches on with the Artful Dodger (Harry Eden), the master thief Fagin (played with marvellous glee by Ben Kingsley) and their merry band of pickpockets, Oliver learns the trade but in a crazy turn of events, ends up under the care of kindly Mr. Brownslow (Edward Hardwicke), much to the anger of Fagin and his 'boss' of sorts, the dangerous Bill Sykes (Jaime Foreman).

The screenplay, adapted by Ronald Harwood, is chock-full of clever, tongue-in-cheek wit that helps lighten the mood dampened by the dark locales. The sets, meanwhile, have to be considered a star in their own right. London is gorgeously and accurately recreated (in Praque) and not only reflects, but helps set the desired mood.
On that note, nobody does bleak quite like Mr. Polanski. His palette is evidently filled solely with grey and other monochromatic colour schemes. That creates the perfect balance, between the light dialogue and the heavy mood, for this such film.

The performances are all top-notch, with an entirely British cast full of British charm and humour. The characters are delightfully light when they have to be, scary as hell at other times. Sir Kingsley, in particular, takes great delight in playing the whimsical Fagin. Fagin is a good-hearted crook in every sense of the phrase and Kingsley is charged with the arduous task of portraying this double-edged sword. He passes with flying colours.

"Oliver Twist" is good family fun. That said, it is dark and it is violent and children will be frightened out of their minds. Occasionally. People die. Things go bump in the night. London is portrayed as an ugly (metaphorically, not physically) place where one must be incredibly hardened to survive. If children can handle that, they will have a great time with this one. Adults certainly will.

Cinema Online, 23 September 2008
   
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Classification
Effective 15 July 2011
G - Suitable for all ages
PG - Suitable for all ages, but parents should provide guidance to their young
PG13 - Suitable for persons aged 13 and above, but parental guidance is advised for children below 13
NC16 - Suitable for persons aged 16 years and above
M18 - Suitable for persons aged 18 years and above
R21 - Restricted to persons aged 21 and above only
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