Brighton Rock: Movie Review
Cast: Sam Riley, Andrea Riseborough, Helen Mirren, John
Hurt, Andy Serkis
Director: Rowan Joffe
It's always hard to redo a film when another version exists that's deemed a
This version of Brighton Rock (based on Graham Greene's 1939 novel) has had a
Set against a backdrop of unrest between the Mods vs Rockers scene, the
action takes place in Brighton; a Brighton of the sixties where gangs of
dissenting youth and mobsters roam the streets, taking to anything they don't
like with violence.
Pinkie (played with resentful ferocity by Sam Riley) is one of those involved
in a gang; he's more likely to crack a skull than a smile - and he finds himself
wrestling with power and greed after he commits a murder.
Things get more complicated when Rose (a stunning Andrea Riseborough) finds
herself unwittingly in the middle of evidence linking Pinkie's gang to the
So Pinkie seduces the naïve Rose - as he tries to ensure she doesn't
But Rose's boss Ida (Helen Mirren) knows something's not right - and soon
finds herself embroiled in this tale of gangland by the sea.
Brighton Rock is dark and gloomy - both in tone and in lighting.
This story of shivs, shingle and shocks may take a while to resonate with
audiences - and many of the older persuasion will take a lot to be convinced
anyone can improve on Richard Attenborough's performance.
In many ways, Pinkie's supposed to be the archetypal anti-hero but he's very
difficult to root for (sample moment - he decides whether Rose loves him by
pulling the legs off a spider). He's cold, blessed with a permanent scowl,
callous, ruthless and in Sam Riley's hands, menacingly watchable.
Likewise Andrea Riseborough's Rose is simply the soaraway success of this -
brilliantly fragile, stupidly naïve and yet endlessly optimistic, she sums up
much of the uncertainty of youth - and in the final scenes she will break your
The problem with this Brighton Rock is it's a little slow to get going; and
with the darkness pervading the script as well as the onscreen action, some may
not be willing to give it the time to let it wash over them and get
While the recreation of sixties seaside England is great and the performances
impressive, overall, Brighton Rock is much like a trip to the British seaside.
It promises so much but disappoints.