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Parents' Guide to

The Sweeney

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Brutal but effective crime drama based on '70s UK TV series.

Movie R 2013 112 minutes
The Sweeney Poster Image

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Director Nick Love gives The Sweeney a gritty, realistic look, which contrasts with the screenplay's more rudimentary conflicts, twists and turns, and chase scenes. It's not clear just how many Americans will be familiar with the 1970s UK TV series that inspired THE SWEENEY, whose title comes from Cockney rhyming slang ("Sweeney Todd" = "Flying Squad"). But, happily, it can still be enjoyed by fans of basic, action-oriented crime dramas. The film feels like it should be smarter than it really is.

But Oscar-nominated co-screenwriter John Hodge (Trainspotting) gives colorful lead character Jack Regan a range of moods, from romantic abandon to humor to desperation and determination; it's really more of a character piece than a police drama. It's too bad the other characters don't quite spring to life in the same way. But if you sit back and enjoy the way that Winstone's energetic performance generously draws out the other characters, the movie becomes a great deal of fun in spite of itself.

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