Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • 2012

The Sweeney

Film4 The Sweeney


East End coppers bend the rules to catch the crims in an update of the 1970s UK TV series, from director Nick Love

Critic's Review

I'm pretty sure Ray Winstone's character in The Sweeney had an actual given name. I'm also pretty sure that The Sweeney is technically cockney rhyming slang, derived from Sweeney Todd/Flying Squad, for the police department he heads up. But in my mind, just as Christian Bale is The Batman, Ray Winstone is The Sweeney. And while The Batman's true identity was sleek billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne, The Sweeney's true identity is surely Alan Sugar.

The Sweeney is a hard man who plays by his own rules, ruffles feathers, and isn't afraid to crack skulls doing it. The Sweeney is written off as an old school relic by jobsworths, pencil pushers and 'ealth and safety bureaucrats, but by god he gets the job done. The Sweeney's musky allure is irresistible to proper fit model-type birds who beyond a shadow of a doubt all secretly crave a real man, and surely not some pretty boy who fails to run around in a battered leather jacket saying things like 'put yer trousers on, you're nicked'.

Let's not waste each other's time. You already know whether this sounds like the kind of top bloke you'd fancy having a pint with. If so, The Sweeney is your film.

In a nutshell: Hard men do hard man things in a none-more-Cockney caper about bending the law to uphold the law and other assorted bad lad cliches.

By Catherine Bray

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Hayley Atwell, Ray Winstone, Damian Lewis
  • Director: Nick Love
  • Screen Writer: Nick Love

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4


    Katell Quillévéré's family-based drama follows Suzanne, a teenage mother who falls for a gangster

  • Film4

    The Purge

    Ethan Hawke stars in James DeMonaco's drama about a sanctioned night where all crime is legal

  • Film4

    Me and You on Film4

    Premiere of Bernardo Bertoluccis drama about a boy and his half-sister who run away together.

  • Film4

    Philadelphia on Film4

    Denzel Washington and Oscar-winning Tom Hanks star in Jonathan Demme's powerful drama.

  • Channel 4 Blog

    BIFA brings 2015 nominated films to cinemas

    BIFA-nominated films including the Film4-backed 45 Years, The Lobster, Macbeth, Amy and Ex Machina will be available in cinemas nationwide from 23 November in a special public screenings event. The

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Film4-backed films receive 41 nominations at the BIFAs

    Film4 has received a total of 41 nominations for the films it has backed at this year¿s British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs), with the nomination lists for the Best British Film and Best Director a

Register with

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register