When acclaimed director last year announced he was preparing a movie adaptation of The Sweeney it was met with excitement, and amusement. But now it’s here, is The Sweeney something to be admired or ridiculed?
The Flying Squad is a special division set up within the police force to handle more specialist crimes and investigations. Heading up the Flying Squad is Jack Regan (Ray Winstone), a man who will bend the rules in order to get the desired result, he might also break the law if he thinks he can get away with it. When a woman is murdered in a cold blooded jewellery heist, Regan suspects he knows exactly who committed the crime, but proving it turns out to be more difficult. Pushed to the edge, Regan must break laws, sever relationships, and sacrifice the things he holds dearest to bring the perpetrator to justice.
While The Sweeney bares the same characters names as its 1970’s original, this is really where the similarity ends. Nick Love’s vision of The Sweeney for a new generation is a much different beast to the original, but it still is as visually and emotionally raw, with that cutting edge appeal the original had.
Made on a budget of £2Million pounds, The Sweeney is hardly one of the biggest budget films of the year, but that low-end budget is very well hidden, this is a quality production, with all the hallmarks of something much bigger.
Set for the most part in central London, with locations around Hattan Garden, London Wall, Trafalgar Square, and Canary Wharf, every device has been made to give the impression if scale.
The movie is incredibly well paced; with a fast action shoot out based in and around Trafalgar Square at the central point of the movie. When Love is not delivering incredibly punchy blows, he juggles fast dialogue, some emotional engagement and stunning visuals.
There are some incredible performances in the movie especially from Ben Drew (Plan B) in the role of George Carter, who gives a compelling and utterly convincing performance as Regan’s right had man who faces some tough decisions of morality as the film progresses. Hayley Atwell also delivers the goods as Regan’s lover and unofficial villain Lewis’ (Stephen Mackintosh) wife.
There are some nice hat-tips in the movie, the Trafalgar Square shoot out is very similar from the famous scene in Michael Mann’s Heat, while Ray Winstone will take older viewers down memory lane as he loads a sock with batteries, a homage to the pool ball scene from Scum.
Lorne Balfe creates a contemporary score for the movie, a score that is sectioned up and spread across the movie, to create what sounds like one track to cover all aspects. In it’s slow dragging notes, there is a hint of the past, this score is a new spin on the old Sweeney tune, a fact only really evident from the opening seconds.
As the movie draws to a close, you get a very real feel that this will not be the only outing for Regan and Carter, now its just down to the box office to prove if this will be the case.
The Sweeney is in UK cinemas from September 12th.
Look out for an interview transcribed by Spencer Hawken in the coming few days.