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Saturday, March 18, 2006

oliver twist

Finally saw Roman Polanski's Oliver Twist on DVD, released in theaters last year. Wow, I loved this film in every way. The visuals were truly amazing, reeling the viewer back in time and place to a dismal and foggy Dickensian dream. All of the leads performed admirably, especially Ben Kingsley as Fagin. The whole 2.5 hour film came together wonderfully, and the Rachel Portman score complemented the visuals perfectly.

My only quibble, and it's minor one, is that the character of Bill Sykes was introduced rather suddenly, without really explaining who he is. I noticed some reviewers have complained about the absence of certain plot elements from the novel, and a lack of character development. However, I don't see how you could expect a literal translation of the novel short of a miniseries, and I do feel the scenes that Polanski and screenwriter Ronald Harwood chose to emphasize effectively brought out the characters' personalities.

My wife and I never expected to finish this DVD in one night, but that's exactly what we did, finishing at almost 12:45 a.m. (I normally can't watch a movie past midnite without dozing off, no matter how exciting it is). I can't understand how this excellent piece of family entertainment flopped at the box office.

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