Joseph Gallagher doesn’t hold back after watching The Sweeney
Director: Nick Love
Starring: Ray Winstone, prostate Ben Drew, Damian Lewis, Hayley Atwell
The Sweeney sees writer/director Nick Love (The Football Factory, The Business) team up with fellow screenwriter John Hodge (Shallow Grave, Trainspotting) in an effort to flesh out an update of the popular 1970s television drama series which boasted the much loved chemistry between stars John Thaw and Dennis Waterman.
The plot sees flying squad officers Jack Regan (Ray Winston) and partner-in-crime George Cartner (Ben Drew) rummaging through the murky streets of London in an attempt to bring justice through rather atypical means which are of much annoyance to their boss, Haskins (Damien Lewis). Tensions begin to lure as the shooting of a civilian during a heist at a jewellery store leads the pair to suspect an old nemesis has returned thus initiating Regan to bring justice to the bad ‘un.
The pairing of Ray Winstone and Ben Drew a.k.a ‘Plan B’ stumble in their efforts to come close to heights attained by the original duo as they lack that quintessential chemistry, that ‘bromance’ if you will, which is an accepted staple of any on-screen duo.
Nick Love’s directing can be credited as ambitious considering the three-million pound budget, but it falls short of being particularly creative.
The influences of other British directors such as Michael Mann and Christopher Nolan are evident in both the colour pallet and style, but it simply cannot match the fleshy urban ambience Mann is able to capture through a lens, nor does it possess that familiar gripping finesse that is processed through each successive frame in any one of Nolan’s work. The screenplay is also a rather dull addition to John Hodge’s repertoire considering it contains classics such as Trainspotting.
In the end the picture plays out as a reboot that simply feels rather dated when compared to the original series, and furthermore lacks the chemistry of its original stars. The finest moments seem to be Ray Withstone strolling around in his pants – provided of course that the sight of Ray Winstone in his pants is enough to induce a slight dose of entertainment.