Brighton Rock (15)



Thriller (2010)
111mins UK

Starring: Dame Helen Mirren, John Hurt, Andy Serkis, Sam Riley, Phil Davis, Andrea Riseborough
Director: Rowan Joffe
Writer(s): Rowan Joffe
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Pinkie Brown is determined to clamber up the ranks of organised crime in Brighton, aided by Spicer and his small team. The planned murder of Fred Hale goes awry and innocent cafe waitress Rose witnesses the chase, potentially putting Pinkie and the boys in the frame for the slaying. So the thug sets out to seduce shrinking violet Rose to win her silence. Cafe owner Ida and her good friend Phil realise that Rose is staring into the jaws of death and resolve to save the girl from herself.

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LondonNet Film Review
Brighton Rock

Rowan Joffe, son of Oscar-nominated film-maker Roland Joffe (The Killing Fields, The Mission), makes an auspicious directorial debut with this new adaptation of Graham Greene's novel...

Brighton Rock. Optimum ReleasingIt's a bold and audacious move. John Boulting's 1947 adaptation of Brighton Rock is one of the classics of British cinema, providing Richard Attenborough with a signature role as razor-wielding teenager, Pinkie Brown. Anyone who dares to trample over the memory of that film does so at his peril. Joffe resets the action to the mid 1960s, using riots on the south coast between the Mods and the Rockers as a vivid backdrop for a stylish tale of murder and betrayal. It's a vision of sharp suits and Italian scooters - when young people expressed themselves with a flick knife tucked inside their jacket pocket. The writer-director marshals an excellent ensemble cast of home-grown talent, including rising stars Sam Riley and Andrea Riseborough, who weren't even born in this era of the British gangster, to the ever reliable Helen Mirren and John Hurt, who probably remember the period well.

Pinkie (Riley) is determined to clamber up the ranks of organised crime in Brighton, aided by Spicer (Phil Davis) and his small team, and hopefully challenge the authority of rival gang leader, Colleoni (Andy Serkis). The planned murder of Fred Hale (Sean Harris) goes awry and innocent cafe waitress Rose (Riseborough) witnesses the chase, potentially putting Pinkie and the boys in the frame for the slaying. So the thug sets out to seduce shrinking violet Rose to win her silence. "You're a good girl," he observes. "I don't want to be good," she replies, willing to be corrupted by this deviant. Cafe owner Ida (Mirren) and her good friend Phil (Hurt) follow the trail of evidence and eventually realise that Rose is staring into the jaws of death. "Putting Rose in the witness box is the only legal way we're going to get rid of Pinkie Brown, which puts that girl in grave danger," concludes Ida.

Brighton Rock. Optimum ReleasingBrighton Rock lacks the intensity and menace of the 1947 version but Joffe shows promise behind the camera, effectively capturing the period detail. Riley is a rare talent, as his portrayal of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis in the award-winning biopic Control proved, but he cuts a tragic figure here and doesn't bristle with the tightly coiled rage that we expect from his thug-in-waiting. Riseborough is captivating as the lamb leading herself to the slaughter in the name of love, and Mirren and Hurt are compelling in their scenes together. Devout fans of the original version should think twice about the remake but new audiences will find their pulses race just a little as the maelstrom of emotions explodes with devastating repercussions.

- Jo Planter


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