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