Big Screen :: The Sweeney

February 19th 2013

The Sweeney is about a group of terrible cops who work in London’s Flying Squad. They appear to specialise in turning non violent robberies into huge massacres by hurtling into the middle of them and attempting to beat the perpetrators with baseball bats and chunks of wood.

With the help of a bit of cockney rhyming slang Flying Squad becomes Sweeney Todd. Get it? That is why it is called ‘The Sweeney’. Figuring that out was the highlight of the film.

The Sweeney is led by Ray Winstone as Reagan. The movie thinks he is cut from the same cloth as Dirty Harry or Popeye Doyle but he actually comes off more like one of those dickhead cops who get off on tasering drunken backpackers. Despite being an old fat jerk, he is having an affair with his absolutely beautiful, much younger subordinate – who also just happens to be the wife of the internal affairs guy investigating The Sweeney for their terrible and corrupt police work. What this means is that if you watch this movie you will see far too many softcore scenes of Ray Winstone in enormous underpants doing shameful things to poor Hayley Atwell. By the way, this is the same Hayley Atwell who was last seen on screen getting it on with Captain America, so sweaty Ray Winstone is a considerable fall from grace. Reagan’s offsider is Carter, who is played by Ben Drew, AKA the rapper Plan B. Plan B is not a very good actor.

I am supposed to give you a plot summary, but to be honest I am not all that clear on what happened in this movie.

There was a robbery, an execution and an internal affairs investigation. There were also a few shoot outs and a car chase. Something about a boat? I am not sure. The movie seemed to think that it all came together very cleverly in the end but I am buggered if I could figure it out. And I don’t think this is some ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ scenario where the movie was just a lot smarter than I am… I actually don’t think it made any sense. Mind you, about two thirds of the way in I realised that I hated every single one of the characters in the movie and I just wanted the whole thing to be over, which meant I probably didn’t give the third act the attention it deserved.

By the way, ‘The Sweeney’ was an old British TV show that my dad is obsessed with, so I took him to the movie. This was a mistake, because he got so furious about what they had done to his favorite show that he kept trying to make me watch his DVDs and boring me with every detail they got wrong. So even if you are a fan of the show, according to my old man you should still give this a miss.

Most of the movie’s problems can be pinned to Nick Love, the co-writer and director, mostly known for other pretty crappy Cockney tough guy movies like ‘The Football Factory‘ and ‘The Firm‘. The unfortunate thing is that Love is a better director than he is a writer. Technically this is a good looking movie, with some neat action and a good car chase. It just fails dreadfully on just about every other level. You know you have got your gritty cop script wrong when the audience is siding with the stuck-up internal affairs investigator in his quest to shut down these maniacs.

Too lazy to read it? Get Sam to read it it you instead.


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