Oliver Twist 2005 Movie Scene Barney Clark as Oliver Twist walking down the country road with a carriage behind him

Oliver Twist [2005]

Roman Polanski’s 2005 movie Oliver Twists is, above all, a perfectly balanced movie. It’s not too tacky, aggressive, overly zealous, dull, or anything like that. The subtle but still powerful approach emphasizes the severity of the struggle to survive back then. And it also helps you to immerse yourself in this bleak world. A bleak world that still feels exciting and full of possibilities because of that unbreakable youthful spirit. You will be transported to a different era that will feel eerily familiar.

The only difference is that now most of this stuff happens online. Oliver Twist 2005 edition is a big period movie with realistic sets, excellent costumes, and production values. And the familiar story is told in a very relatable and intelligent way. Despite what you might think about Polanski and his actions in the real world, he’s one hell of a director. Actor, not so much, but director definitely. As always, I must say that we should separate the art from the artist. Although, I’m about to do the opposite and highlight something I found fascinating.

I’m talking about similarities between the writer of the novel, Charles Dickens, its protagonist Oliver Twist and the director of this movie, Roman Polanski. All three of them had to work from a very early age, without any questions asked. Polanski lost his parents during the Second World War, back in 1943 and to survive on his own, as a young child, roaming the vastness of wartime Poland. On the other hand, Dickens had to work from the age of 12 to pay off his father’s debts.

Polanski remembers that period and he recreated it perfectly, without any additional sappy and melodramatic moments. Only people who went through those hardships can truly know how fucked up it really was. And this is why they dare not tarnish it with some commercial bullshit. They want to expose human nature for what it really is, only one step away from a ferocious beast. And sometimes even worse than that because we have the ability to do better, much better.

This 2005 version of Oliver Twist feels honest and uncompromising, a far cry from the previous, classic adaptations. Only now can you feel just how safe, pedestrian, and forgettable those movies were. They were, in fact, even worse as they diluted the power of such a fucked up story. A story everybody needs to hear and heed. And while child labor is now, hopefully, a thing of the past, we’re perfectly willing to let adults suffer through all of these things. The tribal system of values says that’s okay.

I will skip the main story because I think that most of you already know the story of a young orphan who is forced to work for a ruthless criminal Fagin. Instead of trying to package and deliver the morals of this novel, Polanski decides to leave that to the viewer and presents us with rational facts, trusting our judgment. Starring Ben Kingsley as Fagin, the casting was spot on, along with everything that was happening off the screen.

For example, they hired professional pickpockets and magicians to make the movie feel as real as it could be. This also goes for the rest of the invisible power structures that were much more “visible” back then. You could see the urban moral decay, the foundations of this society that we’re living in right now. While watching you can notice how most of the things that we say we have left behind in the 17th and 18th centuries are still with us, alive and well.

Director: Roman Polanski

Writers: Charles Dickens, Ronald Harwood

Cast: Barney Clark, Ian McNeice, Michael Heath, Ben Kingley

Fun Facts: It would be too exhausting for the director of Oliver Twist, Roman Polanski to walk on an incredibly big set so he had to use and small scooter.


IMDb Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0380599/

YouTube player