There’s a line between influence and collating elements from other texts that ‘worked’ to piggy back on their appeal. Director Nick Love’s The Sweeney pillages Michael Mann’s Heat and Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight /Inception to stretch the running time of a poorly written T.V Show adaption to the big screen.
The Sweeney (or the Flying Squad) are a high-end robbery investigation unit within the London police. They operate with a brutal edge, on the outskirts of the law but they get results. When a particularly heinous murder punctuates the end of a jewel robbery it reeks of a past foe. They must solve the puzzle and avoid internal affairs breathing down their neck.
Winstone’s Jack Regan is a characteristically thick ‘bulldog’ Brit, relishes the cockney brutal, hard arse; but he sweats and struggles for breath in every chase, shoot out and small flight of stairs throughout. It’s a larger than life, blunt performance from Winstone that feels like he’s hamming it up at every turn. The film infers that his power and attitude create some kind of sex appeal (via the beautiful Hayley Atwell’s attraction), and for this reviewer I couldn’t help but think ‘man Captain America’s girlfriend has dramatically lowered her standards.’ Ben Drew’s George, Regan’s second in charge, feels like an authentic kid from the London tenements turned into a rough and tumble detective. He brings an authenticity and an action junkie jazz to the character that remains believable.
Love doesn’t have a directorial voice whatsoever. He’s drowning in adoration for Nolan’s technical brilliance that it feels like whole chunks of The Sweeney‘s shot list and score are direct copies from The Dark Knight (and a few Inception BOOOOOOAAAAHHHHH’s for good measure). The script by Love and co-writer John Hodge does have slivers of originality in the form of the interactions between The Sweeney team when they’re off duty. For the most part though, the script is a barrage of clichés (“I haven’t lost it have I?”: “I’ll have your badge and gun Regan”)
The Sweeney is a parasitic tapeworm, masquerading as a British crime epic.
[rating=1] and a half
Directed by: Nick Love
Written by: Nick Love and John Hodge (From the source material of Ian Kennedy Martin)
Starring: Ray Winstone, Damian Lewis, Hayley Atwell, Ben Drew