Before you read much further into this review there’s one thing I’d like you to do. Go to www.imdb.com, type Oliver Twist into their search engine – minus italics of course – and then look at the results before you.

What you’ll see is a list of thirteen film adaptations and seven television movies and/or mini-series based on Charles Dickens’ classic tale of an orphan boy and his misadventures. That’s altogether a whopping 20 adaptations – excluding title variations – ranging from the year 1910 to the present day. Now I ask you, “Why would anyone want to do another film adaptation of this story?”

Director Roman Polanski (Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown, The Pianist), who grew up in wartime Poland, must have his reasons. Possibly he wanted to share the experiences he had as a child with the cinema going public; show them the hardships that children in this film had to endure through his unique and realistic perspective – a perspective, don’t forget, obtained through first hand experience. But, why did it have to be so darn boring? Perhaps he simply wanted to add a new and unique ‘twist’ to the well worn tale. Well, he doesnt. Oliver Twist is a bad film. It wouldn’t have been so bad if it had just been directed with more guts.

What you get is a young Oliver (Barney Clark) who could have been played by a mannequin with a built in speaker. Bullied and pushed around for the duration of the film; instead of driving the story forward and actually giving us a character we can latch onto and identify with, he is frail and ultimately a stupid child. He is polite (I’ll give him that) but being polite doesn’t make for interesting viewing.

Polanski then takes his title character and places him in equally bland and even more forgettable situations. The result? Persistent gazing at your watch as time crawls by.

Oliver Twist is a film that I didn’t enjoy at all. It’s a slow, slithering mass of a film that takes forever to get moving and once it does takes forever to finish. It’s like having a bowel movement that lasts for two hours. Limp, bland, a waste of time and your money … there really are no other words that I can use to describe how uninspired it actually is. And that’s all I really have to say on the matter.

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