The Offence is a 1973 film starring Sean Connery filmed in and around Bracknell during March and April 1972.
When Connery agreed to return as James Bond in 1971’s in Diamonds Are Forever, he was keen to shake off the image of James Bond and expand his range as an actor. The Offence delivered this in spades as a dark, brooding psychological drama centred around a bitter, hard-drinking Detective Sergeant Johnson (Connery) and child molestation in an anonymous Home Counties housing estate.
Originally designated a New Town in 1949, Bracknell experienced considerable expansion in the 1960s to accommodate a population of a further 60,000. The architecture of the period – concrete housing both high rise, street-level and their amenities – are used as a backdrop throughout the film. Over a couple of dark, grey, rainy days, Johnson confronts his own demons whilst a 12-year-old girl is abducted and a suspected paedophile brought in for questioning.The ending is not a happy one.
Most of the filming took place around the Wildridings Mill Pond area and Easthampstead‘s Point Royal. I returned there during the winter to try and find locations that evoked the same sense of detachment and bleakness experienced in the film rather than make a frame by frame comparison of the original. Bracknell has changed since the 1970s and I did not want to introduce too many distracting contemporary references. For this reason I shot in foggy conditions, helping mask many modern elements but also adding to a sense of disorientation and unease.
The camera used was a Canon 5d Classic with an older style 28-70 lens (non L series) lens. I’ve used this combination before because it mimics film in the way it renders contrast, tone and a slight softness vs the relentless sharpness of for example a 5div.