Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Timothy Spall, William Miller, Adam Arnold, Tom Hardy
Director: Coky Giedroyc
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
This gripping tale of Charles Dickens's classic remains faithful to the spirit of the novel while delivering a modern, thrilling, tragic and occasionally comic edge. Oliver is born into poverty and misfortune - the son of ... more »
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If you compare it to the book you miss the point
David | Utah | 03/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this DVD on sale in a Target store, so I took a chance on it. Luckily, I hadn't read the reviews here or I would have given it a pass. This production of Dickens' famous novel is the least faithful of all the versions I have seen, but I expected that going in. It's basically a stylistic rewrite of the story with a modern audience in mind. Had I been a Dickens purist looking for a mirror image of the book, I would have been appalled, as some reviewers here obviously were.
Instead, it's a fresh take on an old story. It doesn't pretend to be faithful. The result for me is that I was highly entertained, and as someone else has pointed out, instead of looking for how many deviations I could find, I was enthralled by the fact that I did NOT know what was coming next. This in effect freed me from the book, which I have read several times (yes, I like Dickens), and allowed me to judge this fresh approach on its own merits.
I was quite satisfied with the story as it stood on its own two feet, although the original story is much better. But that was a book (a newspaper serial, actually), not a 173 minute television mini-series. Were I to produce a faithful mini-series of Oliver Twist I would require at least ten hour-long segments. It's a very complicated yarn. (I'd love to film the chapter where Oliver is recuperating in the country.)
The cast is excellent for the most part. William Miller (Pieter in "Krakatoa") was an inspired choice for what he was intended to do: portray an appealing yet fearless version of Oliver--a boy who has been subjected to the dreary trials of a workhouse upbringing, yet because of his character has come through it all as a soft spoken, kindly little soul. Adam Arnold as Dodger presents a new "twist" on the character, who is shown as being quite sensitive and vulnerable, and in love with Nancy (who throws him over for Oliver). Bill Sykes is played by Tom Hardy, and while he looks fine in the part, his accent is so extreme I could only understand ever tenth word. He also suffers in my eyes because he's no Robert Newton. That holds true with every other actor who has played Sykes. Similarly, Timothy Spall is no Alec Guiness. I had a hard time swallowing his Fagin, but again this is a rewrite of the story and he does an adequate job with the writer's reconstruction of the character. Mr. Brownlow is played by the ubiquitous Edward? Fox (is he William, James or Edward? I wish he'd make up his mind).
If it sounds like I'm having fun with this review, it's probably because I had fun watching this DVD. The extra on the disk is a "making-of" documentary. I enjoyed meeting Will Miller, Sophie Okonedo (Nancy), and others. However, when you listen to the writer, Sarah Phelps, you begin to get an insight into why this Oliver Twist is so different from all the others. She strikes me as an angry, over-the-top liberal who has strong opinions on Dickens and other societal matters. She rubbed me the wrong way, but at the same time I did like very much what she produced. So there you have it in a nutshell.
The music didn't bother me one little bit. In fact, its spirited tone fit the revised character of Oliver very well, and I felt it was perfect for this particular production. William Miller is a handsome, lovable boy, and I was very pleased to see Oliver Twist as an engaging, sturdy and athletic youngster for once instead of the meek, frail waif we have always seen, a character who we are to pity. It's a fresh outlook. The rest of the cast, the authentic costuming and backgrounds, yes and even the heavily rewritten story, support this new twist on Oliver Twist very well.
It's a good movie. Don't miss it. Take the sour apple reviews with a grain of salt."
A Twisted Oliver Twisted
Wayne Goode | Huntsville, AL, United States | 06/23/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This BBC adaptation twists around all that is fundamental to the story. And the acting is stilted and over-dramatic. After watching 10 minutes, I could not stand it any more. I switched to watch a short feature about the making of the film.
The director said she was tired of the usual way the characters were played. She choose to portray Oliver as a strong-willed boy who could stand-up up to Fagan & Sikes instead of a frightened and passive boy. She cast Fagan as a large man, not a skinny man. I'm sure she went on to explain more, but I had had all I could take.
The problem with this 'interpretation' is that it is not what Dickens wrote. I am a fan of Dickens--I don't' want the director's version of Oliver Twist. I want Dickens's. Oliver is believable & interesting because of the way Dickens wrote him. If Oliver was strong-willed, the story wold have been different. Same goes for the other characters. Skip this and get a version that is more faithful to the book."
Neither faithful nor relevant.
literature101 | Boston, Massachusetts | 04/09/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I read some reviews that praise this film for its originality and creative way of approaching the Dickens' classic tale of "Oliver Twist." While I do agree that there have been many adaptations of "Oliver Twist," (and most of them are relatively the same in basic plot elements), this BBC 2007 is so different from the novel and from Charles Dickens' spirit that it was painful to watch.
Other reviews have already noted that many important elements of the plot are left out or drastically altered. While these changes were certainly the screenwriter's perogative, I think they would also have done better to change the title to something like "Oliver N'Olie" or "A New View of Oliver Twist."
This way, the consumer would know that the story in the film only slightly resembles Dickens' novel."
Not perfect but interesting
Philip Ford | Lubbock, Texas United States | 02/25/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This version of Oliver twist was not a bad film, in fact it was quite good. It should not be compared to Polanski's film or the 1968 film. It should be compared to David Lean's excellent film with Sir Alec Guinness. Many previous films including the 1968 film and polanski's omit an important character in Oliver's half brother "Monks" or Edward as he is called here. Yes in the book Monks was a major villain who employed Fagin to corrupt Oliver, And in this film Monks is a well portrayed villain who threatens everyone he meets and tried to seduce his cousin. True, in the book he does not seduce his cousin but he does everything else. Timothy Spall's Fagin is quite good and shows that poverty has corrupted his soul. To show him as a proper jew honors the true nature of a very complex character of which Dickens only shows one side to Fagan. No this production is not a word for word literal telling of Oliver Twist but it opens up old characters and shows that evil has many faces. It is not a perfect film and sometimes the soundtrack was annoying but it was overall a good production and worth watching."