The Sweeney

| April 2, 2013

Tearing up the streets of London, The Sweeney is a stylish and exhilarating action thriller proving sometimes you have to act like a criminal to catch a criminal.

The Sweeney is directed by Nick Love and based on the popular 1970s U.K. television show of the same name. This movie from the beginning to the end tells the story of the Sweeney Flying Squad, London’s elite crime-fighting force –a branch of the Metropolitan Police specializing in tackling armed robbery and violent crime.

The big man holding up The Sweeney is Detective Jack Regan, played by Ray Winstone and his loyal partner, played by Ben Drew. Often the group members are as bad as the criminals who they are chasing, and they must act the part by using unscrupulous tactics—basically meting out beatings and pistol whippings—all in the name of catching the criminal.

It gets a little out of hand, however, when Regan really crosses the line by sleeping with his boss’ wife, played by Hayley Atwell. He really rubs it in when the boss, played by Damien Lewis, finds out about it. He lets his rough, tough, gruffy personality get in the way of his mission, and I’m sure he isn’t getting paid to sleep with the woman, who is also part of his team.

Things get really messy when the team goes on detail to catch jewelry store bandits and the wife is killed by the criminals. At this point, Regan’s bosses have had enough and they order him off duty, even though they had ordered his off the hunt for the thieves in the first place—an order that he ignored. And as is his fashion, he ignores the order to just hang tight and let others pick up this case. He’s off on a renegade mission to find the jewelry-stealing murderers and maybe in the end get his job back. Or at least he thinks he can atone for his indiscretions with his married female partner and ultimately her death.

I liked The Sweeney, because it is set in London and is such a fast-paced thrill ride that keeps your attention throughout. The action takes you from Trafalgar Square to a trailer part on the outskirts of the city. And Winstone is a character that I enjoy whenever I run across him in a film (he’s also played in The Departed and Hugo). In The Sweeney, I don’t know if he’s more appealing with a clean shaven face or one all battered up from his run-ins with the criminals and other law enforcement officers. He has a certain style and demeanor that makes you either love him or hate him.

In any case, The Sweeney will leave you on the edge of your seat, wondering just when the next beating, pistol whipping or brain blowing action will take place. The film is out on DVD and Blu-ray April 2. For more information, visit

About the Author:

Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., is an editor, writer and film critic in Chicago. She is the author of "Old School Adventures from Englewood--South Side of Chicago" and the proud parent of "the smart rapper"--chemist-turned-rapper, turned humanitarian...Psalm One!
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