In the Nineteenth Century, orphan Oliver Twist is sent from the orphanage to a workhouse, where the children are mistreated and barely fed. He moves to the house of an undertaker, but after an unfair severe spank, he starts a seven day runaway to London. He arrives exhausted and starving, and is soon welcomed in a gang of pickpockets lead by the old crook Fagin. When he is mistakenly taken as a thief, the wealthy victim Mr. Brownlow brings Oliver to his home and shelters him. But Fagin and the dangerous Bill Sykes decide to kidnap Oliver to burglarize Mr. Brownlow's fancy house. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist has many more characters and subplots than can be fit into a just-over-2-hours film. This version narrows down and streamlines the story to focus on Oliver Twist, Mr. Brownlow, Fagin, Bill Sikes, Nancy, and the Artful Dodger. The novel's other characters Mr. Bumble, Mrs. Mann, Mrs. Corney, Noah Claypole, Charlotte, Mr. Monks, the Maylie family, the Fleming family, and the Leeford family, are all either relegated to brief cameo roles or omitted entirely from the story. See more »
When Oliver runs away from Mr. Sowerberry's house to London, his shoes keep changing between shots. He is shown wearing shoes both with and without laces. When he sits and has his meal under the cart in the rain, his shoes do not have laces. Immediately after that, the shoes have laces. See more »
Roman Polanski never ceases to amaze me at all the things he can do. He can make so many different kinds of films well. His range is truly extraordinary. The man who gave us Chinatown, Pianist, Rosemary's Baby has now directed Oliver Twist. I've seen most of the versions of Twist but this is by far the best. David Leans version is often talked about but it is overpraised. It tends to be overly sentimental an very slow in certain places. I'm not for fast moving movies but his version can be quite dull at times. Polanski's film has updated a great story with lush photography of pastoral settings and the narrative moves briskly. He manages to develop the characters quite well despite the pace. The acting from all is superb especially Ben Kingsley who is barely recognizable. I've never been a fan of great books that have been adapted to film but Polanski seems to have a real knack for this sort of thing. He filmed Tess (also an adaptation) 25 years back with an Academy award nominated direction. That film is one of my all time favorites but Oliver Twist is even better. Polanski seems to get better with age. I can't wait to see what he does next.
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