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Monday, May 26, 2008

OLIVER TWIST (2005)

Dickens’ early novel has been lucky on screen with two contrasting masterpieces (David Lean taking the leg & thigh & Carol Reed with the breast & wing portion, so to speak) and hardly a dud among scores of adaptations, faithful and 'un.' Roman Polanski & scripter Ronald Harwood ’s realistic approach, trimming off comic eccentricities & circular plot conventions, turns out a bleakly handsome, believable retelling, but it’s bland, tastefully reconstituted Dickens. (The poor kid playing Oliver hasn’t a lick of personality.) The relationships that drive the actions never get a chance to develop properly. And with so much coincidental plotting removed, it’s a bit like hearing a piano reduction of a great symphony.

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