Oliver Twist

Cast:

Ben Kingsley as Fagin

Barney Clark as Oliver Twist

Jamie Foreman as Bill Sykes

Harry Eden as The Artful Dodger

Leanne Rowe as Nancy

Lewis Chase as Charley Bates

Edward Hardwicke as Mr. Brownlow

Jeremy Swift as Mr. Bumble

Mark Strong as Toby Crackit

Frances Cuka as Mrs. Bedwin

Chris Overton as Noah Claypole

Michael Heath as Mr. Sowerberry

Gillian Hanna as Mrs. Sowerberry

Alun Armstrong as Mr. Fang

Review:

Oliver Twist (Barney Clark) is an orphan trying to find his place in the world and soon finds himself under the care of Fagin (Ben Kinglsey) an aging petty thief and his partner, the vile Bill Sykes (Jamie Foreman).

The latest version of “Oliver Twist,” from acclaimed director Roman Polanski (“Chinatown,” “The Pianist”), perfectly captures Dickens particular view of life in 18th century England – equal parts crushing apathy and often tragically funny inhumanity. In the midst of this is thrust young Oliver, looking for nothing more than the dignity due to him as a human being and despite being denied at every turn never looses his own sense of decency, the one thing that separates him from the broken people around him.

Polanski tells the story straightforwardly with few flourishes (allowing the ones he does go for – the world brightens into Technicolor glory when things go well for Oliver, and descend to a desaturated ashy gray when everything falls apart for him – to exist with their own power), letting the actors and their words do the work. Polanski is working at the height of his craft here.

Kingsley does an excellent Fagin but it’s no tour-de-force, nor does it need to be. It’s an ensemble, and the cast works together like clockwork.

Its only real weakness is it’s pacing, but it’s unavoidable. Even at two and a half hours, there’s a lot of Dickens to squeeze in and occasionally it feels a bit rushed.

“Oliver Twist” is an affecting and refreshing adaptation of Dickens seminal work from a master director.

“Oliver Twist” is rated PG-13 for disturbing images.