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Good versus Evil, Sin and Redemption: Graham Greene Revisited
gradyharp3 September 2011
BRIGHTON ROCK is a British remake of the 1947 brilliant film noir based on the novel by Graham Greene an adapted for the screen by Graham Greene and Terrance Rattigan. This BRIGHTON ROCK has been updated from the original 1930s setting to the 1960s and the screenplay is by Rowan Joffe (who also directs) - tough competition with the original writers! The result is a dark film that relies on performances by some actors who are not up to the task and makes them seem even more weak by the presence of such brilliant actors in smaller roles as Helen Mirren, John Hurt, Philip Davis and Andrea Riseborough.

The story takes place in 1964 in Brighton, once a quiet seaside town, is suddenly overrun by gangs of sharp suited Mods and greasy Rockers looking for a riot. Looking to be the top Mod gangster, Pinkie Brown (Sam Riley) will stop at nothing to be the biggest name in the crime world - bigger than the competitor Colleoni (Andy Serkis). Pinkie witnesses the vicious death of fellow Mod Kite (Goeff Bell) and is determined to kill the perpetrator Hale (Sean Harris). Pinkie's ruthless and violent ambition takes over his mission and when he discovers that a waitress named Rose (Andrea Riseborough) who works at Snows, a café run by Ida (Helen Mirren), is involved tangentially in the murders, Pinkie decides to court the plain Jane Rose, knowing that if he marries her she cannot testify against him should she discover Pinkie's guilt in the murders. Ida had a 'connection' with Hale and sees through the veils of deceit Pinkie is placing on the innocent Rose, and she and her longtime friend Phil (John Hurt) undermine Pinkie's plans. Pinkie marries Rose - a gesture that secures Rose's fascination and new love for Pinkie - to keep her from testifying against him. As factors around the conflicts between the two gangs tighten and Pinkie fears for his end, he convinces his new bride to take part in a mutual suicide, an act that has a surprising end.

What is missing in this updated adaptation is Graham Greene's important emphasis on the theme of sin, guilt and Catholicism: there are attempts to bring these concepts into the script but they become of lesser importance than the action and dark evocation of a period piece. There mood is well described by the cinematography of John Mathieson, but the single most effective aspect of this film is the brilliant music score by the gifted British composer Martin Phipps, godson of Benjamin Britten. Were there not an original film for comparison the film would likely be better accepted. But for those who are ardent fans of the novels of Graham Greene this film adaptation will likely disappoint. It is currently available On Demand and simultaneously in theaters before the DVD is released here.

Grady Harp
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Mildly engaging crime drama
bandw13 February 2012
The main character of this movie is Pinkie Brown, a small-time thug in Brighton, England, in the 1960s. Pinkie's true evil nature comes out when he tries to take over a small gang of criminals after their leader had been killed by a rival gang. As played here, Pinkie is in his 20s and, as brash and amoral as he is, he and his mediocre cohorts are no match for the rival gang that basically runs underground crime in Brighton.

The action is sordid and ugly, but the glossy color photography works at cross purposes to conveying that mood. Much of the photography is more appropriate for an art film than for this down-and-dirty fare, making me think that maybe black and white would have been a more appropriate choice. As Pinkie, I found Sam Riley just a little too handsome for the part--he does not exude the menace and harsh personality that is Pinkie's nature.

I found the initial setup scenes rapid-paced and confusing, requiring close attention; if you don't follow what has happened early on, you will be at a loss to fully understand what happens later. An additional complication to my following the opening scenes was the fact that I am not a Brit and didn't always follow the cadences and clipped manner of speaking. I confess to starting the movie over after about fifteen minutes, with English subtitles turned on. That was a great help.

The score that often seems to aspire to the transcendent seems greatly out of place.

I wish I had seen this movie before having read the book, since having some of the images in mind would have been good. Never having been to Brighton, my mental picture of it would have been greatly enhanced by what is well captured here. While the movie strips from the book much of the depth of the themes of sexuality, morality, loyalty, and sin, there are things in the movie that I found improved upon the book. I liked Helen Mirren's portrayal of Ida as a more centered person than the blithe Ida of the book, and John Hurt fleshed out Ida's friend Phil better than what I got from the book. And there are a lot of little things. For example, I pictured the candy, Brighton rock, as being something like a candy cane rather than the weighty rod seen in the movie. I regret that Pinkie's lawyer Prewitt was deleted--he was a truly Dickensian character in the book. And why the great ending in the book was changed is beyond me.
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I was fond of him. poor old Fred.
lastliberal-853-25370826 October 2014
Sometimes it's a character you liked that attracts, like the role Philip Davis played in Midsomer Murders. Other times it's to see a great star like Helen Mirren.

Whatever the reason, it's always good to see a film based on a Graham Greene novel, like The Third Man, This Gun for Hire, The Quiet American, and many more.

A young Richard Attenborough played in this movie in the 40's, here is falls to Sam Riley (Control, Maleficent) to play the lead. He is capably assisted by Andrea Riseborough (Oblivion, Shadow Dancer), as the waitress he marries to keep her from testifying as a witness.

A good neo-noir with contributions from William Hurt and Nonso Anozie (The Grey, Game of Thrones).
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Why Make This Again?
beveryhill15 March 2011
I went to see this version of Brighton Rock with my mum. She was keen to see how it matched up to the original Boulting Brothers film with Richard Attenborough. She and I were both disappointed.

I was actually really rather bored for the first half and wanted to run out of the cinema screaming. It seemed to take for ever to get going.

There were no characters I could empathise with. Rose who falls for bad boy Pinkie seemed too dim and snivelling to care about and Pinkie had so little charm I couldn't care less what happened to him. The actor Sam Riley's maturity (around 30)was against him playing the role of Pinkie, who I realised long into the film was meant to be in his teens.

I thought that, perhaps the story, wasn't for me.... My mum kept on that it wasn't as good as the "classic" original. So I thought I'd find out for myself and got hold of a DVD. Was she right? Yes. Although by no means perfect it had a robust sense of what it was: a British noir gangster film. Set in 1940s, shot in stark black and white it was gritty and hard and menacing.

Whereas the look and feel of this version seemed to be at odds with the subject matter. In it's attempt to be lavish, this production, up-dated to the 60s seemed at times too clean and shiny. On the other hand, at other times it was unrealistically grubby : Rose's home - a 60s socail housing tower block, which would in reality have been spanking new, was dressed down to look disgustingly filthy and run down.

These kinds of inconsitencies popped up not just in the design, but throughout the music, the camera-work and the diercting of the actors. The pacing of seemed to jump from set piece to set piece without a sense of flow or overall tone. The separate elements of the film didn't gel. The best description I can come up with is "clonky". In fact, I'd go further and say it is a ham fisted mishmash.

Sorry to the filmmakers, I think you wasted a lot of effort on this. which is a shame.
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Weird and Not Engaging
claudio_carvalho18 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
In 1964, in Brighton, the hoodlum and smalltime gangster Pinkie Brown (Sam Riley) sees the murder of his chief and father figure Kite (Geoff Bell), stabbed by the smalltime crook Fred Hale (Sean Harris) on the street. His gang, formed by Spicer (Philip Davis), Cubitt (Craig Parkinson) and Dallow (Nonso Anozie), sells protection racket to the merchants of the area and they are disputing the territory with the powerful mobster Colleoni (Andy Serkis). They chase Hale and Pinkie kills him smashing his head with a stone. However, the waitress of the Snows restaurant, Rosie Wilson (Andrea Riseborough), sees Spicer running after Hale on the docks and the local photographer takes a picture of the trio and gives the receipt slip to Rosie.

The sociopath Pinkie is assigned by Spicer to retrieve the slip and eliminate Rosie and he gets closer to her. The needy girl falls in love with Pinkie and promises him to keep silence. Pinkie, who is disputing the leadership of the gang with Spicer, does not feel anything for Rosie but decides to marry her to avoid her testimony in the future. Meanwhile, Hale's lover and manager of the Snows, Ida Arnold (Helen Mirren), pursues Pinkie and tries to force Rosie to go to the police to tell the truth.

"Brighton Rock" is a weird and not engaging remake of the 1947 film that is based on Graham Greene's novel. I did not see the original or read the novel, but I did not like this version. There are inconsistencies in the plot regarding why the sociopath Pinkie does not kill Rosie and prefers to marry her. When he records a 45 rpm vinyl record and gives it to Rosie, it is clear that the hoodlum does not feel anything for Rosie but hate. The conclusion with the record repeating "I love you" and the last scene showing the cross to indicate a miracle is awful. My vote is five.

Title (Brazil): "O Pior dos Pecados" ("The Worst of the Sins")
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Curate's Egg of a film
StarlightCinema11 February 2011
As a Brighton resident, I had to see this, but also probably spent more time looking at the locations (and more critically) than a normal viewer. On the plus side, there is excellent cinematography, and the film creates an atmospheric mid 60's version of Brighton that might be convincing to anyone too young to remember that time, but which contained too many jarring anachronisms for me. For example Rose lives in a tower block, which could have existed in 1964, and would have still been soulless and depressing, but would also have been practically brand spanking new, not run down and shabby with 20 years of neglect. This highlights another failing of the film, the clichéd exaggerated unrelenting squalor that all the criminals live in, which again is untrue to the period, twitching net curtains and keeping up (often threadbare) appearances was how things worked then, in working class neighbourhoods especially. You could create an oppressive atmosphere from these real elements (and the culture clash of the pre and post war worlds) perhaps more easily than from this invented total squalor.

So if the world the film creates is a Hollywood version of 1960's Brighton, do the characters engage you? Well I loved Helen Mirren and John Hurt, they brought a touch of class whenever they appeared, and Phil Davis is another very fine actor who is always watchable. Sadly the two main characters don't quite pull it off, and if I have to lay the blame it is chiefly with Sam Riley's Pinkie. If he could have alternated his cold unsmiling thuggishness with some charm, shown Rose a little tenderness some vulnerability even, that would have made her falling for him, and her naive notion that she could save him more convincing, and maybe made his cruelty and occasional physical violence toward her more shocking. Andrea Riseborough as Rose gives a fair performance, given that she does not have much to work with.

I'm sorry if this review makes the film sound worse than it is, because truth be told despite its failings it is consistently watchable, and still managed to engage me. An interesting failure.
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427th Review: Gothic Mods
intelearts11 June 2011
While Brighton Rock is receiving a certain amount of stick (geddit?) from critics and reviewers who want to solely compare it to the original - I for one was lost in this - it's evocative, dark, broody, and a nice angsty character study of post-war Britain going hell for leather into the 60s.

This is a film about anger and loss, about opportunity and ambition, and crime - and the elements that Graham Greene satirized so brilliantly in his novel are there - the Catholicism post-Evelyn Waugh, the rise of the working-class with money, and above all, desperate lonely early 20s love.

All in all, the production values, the cameos, the central roles are more than competent - this is a very good British film, and it should be allowed 50 years on to stand on its on. There are a number of excellent iconic scenes, from the scooters, to the bosses; and we liked that it's not just about petty crime or gangs, there's a lot going on here - it's nowhere near in any sense a bad film, and deserves a good audience.
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Excellent overall, shame about the ending
hopek-118 February 2011
I went to see this film with some trepidation. The original Graham Greene novel is very good and one of my favourites. The original film from 1947 was also extremely good, with Richard Attenborough as an unlikely but splendid villain. However this version was excellent. The fact that it had been updated to the 60s, which had worried me a little, worked well. Of course it did not have the period feel, but the aggression, violence and fighting for territory of the Mods and Rockers (which I remember well) echoed beautifully the behaviour of the gangsters and gave the opportunity for some very effective scenes visually. The acting I found completely plausible, with Phill Davies, John Hurt, Sam Riley and Andrea Riseborough all giving authentic portrayals. Helen Mirren, perhaps, looked a little too glamorous physically, but her acting was fine. Brighton itself was a wonderful additional character in all this. The contrast between the somewhat mindless hedonism of the holiday makers and the violent and ugly activities of the underworld was extremely effective and the use of the landscape beautiful and horrific in equal measure. The theme of sin, guilt and Catholicism was probably not dealt with as interestingly as in the novel, but that is a frequent limitation of the medium of film. Why on earth the makers of the film felt that they were entitled to "improve" on Graham Greene's ending I do not know. But it did not spoil my overall judgement that this was a very good film. I hope it will inspire those who have not already done so to read the novel.
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Can You Handle The Truth?
rbrb25 November 2012
This is a dark,intense 'film noir' type drama.

The backdrop to it is Brighton, England of the 1960's with rebelling youth(mods and rockers).The actual story is about a young murderous psychopath thug involved in a gang war. A gullible waitress unwittingly becomes a witness to murder and the thug needs to deal with it.

The movie is atmospheric and grim. No hint of much happiness nor any likable characters.Everyone in the movie is flawed in one way or another. Maybe that is why many people did not rate this movie highly.

There is a religious and moral agenda in this picture which if recognized may disturb some viewers.

I thought all the main actors gave edgy and compelling performances. The 2 leads namely Sam Riley and Andrea Riseborough are outstanding with on balance the latter stealing the show.

The very last scene in the film is brilliant and thought provoking.

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Gripping, drama, very well acted.
artograffi5 February 2011
I am not good at long reviews but I didn't see the original or read the book. Therefore I am judging this as a movie in itself rather than comparing it to the original. I thought it was excellent, the drab interiors, the plain simplicity of Rose, so well acted and the sadness in her innocence, all made this quite emotional for me. Helen Mirren was a delight to the eye, so beautiful, wrinkles and all. No cosmetic surgery there. I think they did a good job of making Brighton 1960s and sensibly only showed one CGI shot of the West pier, rather than trying to re-create what it looked like. It held my attention throughout and I very nearly cried at the end. Sad its getting bad reviews. Perhaps it was too British for some people.
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Rowan Joffe's dark, suspenseful but fatally flawed remake of Brighton Rock.
MrJamesBlack9 March 2011
Hearing the news that John Boulting's classic 1946 adaptation of Graham Greene's novel Brighton Rock was to be remade filled with me trepidation. The current spate of mostly inferior remakes are one thing but meddling with the perfection of this archetypical gangster film is another. How can any updated version possibly replace the indelible image of the 23 year old Richard Attenborough as the flick knife wielding baby faced assassin Pinkie Brown? As filming began and rumours of a 1960s Mods and Rockers setting emerged I began to have serious doubts if this remake was really going to be a good idea! Thankfully fears that Rowan Joffe's Brighton Rock is a sanitised version of the story are quickly allayed. The relocation of Brighton Rock to the 1960s does not mean that we are entering into the trendy youth culture of the era or being taken on an adolescent search for identity. The sharp-suited posers and greasy leather clad Rockers are merely a backdrop to a much darker reality as we are taken into a terrifying world of crime, guilt and inner-torment.

Brighton Rock is concerned with the concepts of good versus evil, sin and redemption they were present in Greene's novel, the 1946 adaptation and once again are central in Rowan Joffe's remake. However, additional scenes and alterations to the 2010 update mean that Pinkie's progressively violent behaviour is almost justified. In the exhilarating opening sequence Pinkie witnesses the brutal murder of the gang's original leader Kite when Fred Hale slashes his throat. When Pinkie sees one of the few role models in his life burbling and drowning in his own blood revenge it seems is not only on the cards but unavoidable. This kind of black and white, eye for an eye, morality detracts from the original story where Pinkie Brown's vicious streak appeared to be innate and a product of original sin. The character of Ida Arnold (Dame Helen Mirren) also has undergone a significant adjustment. In opposition to the Catholicism of Pinkie and Rose the pleasure seeking Ida was concerned only with the here and now. Mirren's portrayal plays these aspects down resulting in a more serious role and a lessening of the story's theological study.

As with Attenborough before him Sam Riley's Pinkie is intense, dangerous and teeters on the edge of sanity. If anything in Joffe's adaptation Pinkie Brown undergoes a broader transformation than before as greater emphasis being placed upon his journey from a nervous lackey to maniacal gang leader. Unfortunately the 30 year old Riley he does not resemble a juvenile delinquent. Therefore the shy adolescent awkwardness that Pinkie displays towards adulthood and in particular his relationship with Rose, (conveyed so expertly by Attenborough,) is absent.

Andrea Riseborough gives an outstanding performance as Rose she too goes on a psychological journey from being a naive and mousey youngster to an assertive young woman attracted to Pinkie's confidence and menace. The scene in which Pinkie in effect buys Rose from her abusive father for £150 adds a social realist dimension to the film uncovering the lack of options available to a young working-class woman in 'sixties Britain. The squalid surroundings of Pinkie and Rose's flat complete with peeling wallpaper, scuffed furniture and squeaky floorboards are also reminiscent of a Kitchen Sink drama. There is some impressive cinematography by John Mathieson as the camera pans from the threatening crashing waves on Brighton Beach to the scenic seaside cafés foreshadowing the storm that is building. The swelling orchestral soundtrack also adds to the heightened sense of panic and drama. The tea rooms, arcades and dance-halls of 1960s Brighton are also accurately recreated as are the neglected interiors of the boarding houses. And yet… There is something oddly unreal about Joffe's Brighton Rock partly down to the unnecessary time shift which does nothing but confuse the audience. The film's characters seem stuck in the wrong era originating as they do from austere post-war Britain both in appearance and behaviour. Using the Mods and Rockers backdrop and casting of Philip Davis, (who appeared in Quadrophenia,) as Spicer turns the movie into a pastiche of sorts leaving us with a souped-up hyper-reality. This is Brighton as seen through the eyes of the cinema goer not the world of Graham Greene's novel. Dark, menacing and suspenseful Rowan Joffe's Brighton Rock is well worth seeing it is just unfortunate that the film is not as good as the sum of its parts.
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The filmmaking does not match the thin plot
chaz-2812 September 2011
There is something off about Brighton Rock. The atmosphere and mood surrounding the action does not match what is going on. Based on a Graham Greene novel, Brighton Rock follows a low level gangster's attempt to avenge his father figure, stake a claim to the top spot, and run the mob racket in Brighton, England in 1964. Encasing this formulaic plot is a soaring orchestral score, shots of the waves crashing on the rocky beach, and dialogue which seems deliberately pieced together from 1930s and 40s gangster pictures.

Pinkie Brown (Sam Riley) witnesses a rival gang member murder his mentor/mob boss in the film's opening scene. Pinkie learned everything from this man including intimidation tactics, how to handle a knife, and presumably how to convincingly wear a menacing sneer. Riley plays Pinkie as a guy you do not want to mess with, let alone have a conversation with. Unfortunately, poor and innocent Rose (Andrea Riseborough) witnesses a key segment of the revenge attack and becomes connected with Pinkie who needs to keep close tabs on her. Mistaking his attention as romantic interest, Rose almost becomes comic. No matter how lonely the girl, I cannot believe any female would be flattered by Pinkie Brown. He is overtly mean, sarcastic, and threatening to this girl he is trying to convince he has feelings for. Rounding out the ensemble is a miscast Helen Mirren as a meddling interloper and John Hurt who acts as a sort of Greek Chorus commenting on the plot from aside.

The mise-en-scene; however, is quite convincing. Brighton is shot as cold, bleak, and gray; adjectives which aptly describe that city in the winter time. There seems to be nowhere else to go or spend time other than the Brighton Pier, which is true. Brighton Rock desperately wants to be an epic with its serious moments on the Dover cliffs, brutal knife fights under the pier, and its dangerous love story. The plot is so thin and trivial though that it cannot match, but only hinder, the help all the other film components are trying to give it such as the score, costumes, and set design.

Do not waste your time with Brighton Rock. The writer who adapted this novel to the screen is Rowan Joffe who also wrote the screenplay for 2010's The American. If you have not had the pleasure of that film yet, see it instead.
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Dire, dire, dire
Steve Crook4 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
There was nothing on telly and BBC2 were showing it. It was snowing outside so I wrapped up warm and snuggled down to see if it was as bad as I feared - it was.

I have a great idea for a film, they must have said to each other. We'll take a classic film like Brighton Rock (1947) and mix it up a bit with Quadrophenia so that people will think we've done some original work. If anyone asks we'll tell them that we're re-making the story from the original novel, but of course we won't bother with that really. We'll make a packet without having to do any work.

We'll pull in some decent actors like Helen Mirren, John Hurt and Phil Davis, they can help us sell any film. We'll kill Phil off fairly early but he hasn't been given a decent part anyway. Helen Mirren can play the sexy older woman, played by Hermione Baddeley in the original. She can't help giving a decent performance, people would pay to see her read the phone book. John Hurt hovers in the background and doesn't really add anything to the film but we'll put his name high up on the posters.

It's a shame that we can't afford any decent young actors like the young Dickie Attenborough, but as long as he looks fairly pretty and can run and shout a bit, it doesn't matter who we get to play the "lead".

How can they claim they did anything original for this or went back to the original novel? There was nothing of significance that wasn't in the 1947 film. They even "borrowed" the cop-out ending with the record. Pinkie's house was definitely modelled on the 1940s rather than the 1960s.

Dire, dire, dire.
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An embarrassment.
magus-927 January 2011
Despite apparent substantial expense (60s period trappings et. al.) and impressively glossy cinematography, this is a drab, incompetent and unconvincing film. I'm no huge fan of the Boulting movie, but this remake/ new version suffers poorly in comparison. Joffe seems to have little clue in directing actors(there are some great actors here giving cringe-inducing performances), and the plot mechanics are amateurishly worked out (a car stalls conveniently allowing time for a character to get inside it, whereupon it starts working again... there are several such moments in which credibility is sacrificed for the sake of convenience). Mostly, however, it's an embarrassing experience. Lots of histrionics and glossy lighting, but no-one seems to know what they're doing in this directionless mess.
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Amateurish and awful
jacko078 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I didn't walk out half way through but I must have checked my watch half a dozen times, 110 minutes seemed like eternity. I was in Brighton as a mod in 1964 and this movie got the period all wrong. Sure, the mod extras were dressed 1964 and were riding vespas and lambrettas but everything else was 1954. Don't forget in 1964 we were four years into the sixties, we were in the height of Beatlemania The Stones and the most significant fashion change since the start of the century.

Sam Riley was like a dummy out of Montague Burton's window, utterly unconvincing as an up and coming gangster. Helen Mirren and John Hurt should seriously think about retirement. This poor remake is badly written, badly researched, badly acted and very badly should go straight to the £1 DVD basket. This version of Brighton Rock could have been made by students, it is dreadful, do not waste your money on this piece of rubbish.
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Has Its Own Virtues
JamesHitchcock23 February 2012
One of the perils of remaking a classic film is that your version will be compared unfavourably with the original. Of course, there have always been film-makers who have dared to brave this peril, and it is as well that there have been, otherwise we would have been deprived of, for example, Kenneth Branagh's interpretation of "Henry V", which spoke to the eighties just as Laurence Olivier's had spoken to the forties.

Graham Greene's novel "Brighton Rock" was famously adapted for the screen by the Boulting brothers in 1947, and their version is widely regarded as one of the greatest films from the "Golden Age" of the British cinema during the forties and fifties. Rowan Joffé's recent remake has not been universally well-received, particularly by those who believe that nothing can ever compete with its illustrious predecessor. Much as I admire the Boultings' film, however, I have to admit that the newcomer has many virtues of its own.

The main character is Pinkie Brown, the youthful leader of a gang of thugs whose principal activity is protection racketeering. Early in the film, Pinkie murders Hale, a member of a rival gang, in revenge for the murder by Hale of Pinkie's colleague Kite. (In the original novel and the 1947 film, Hale was a journalist who had been investigating the gang's activities. Another change is the date at which the story takes place; although the novel and original film are both set in the 1930s, this adaptation is set during the Mods and Rockers era of the 1960s).

Pinkie tries to cover his tracks by creating a false alibi for himself, which leads to the commission of further crimes and to Pinkie's marriage to Rose, a young waitress who he believes might be in possession of evidence which could send him to the gallows. Pinkie is not in love with Rose, but marries her because at the time the film is set there was a rule of English law that a wife could not give evidence against her husband. The ending is closer to the one Greene wrote in his novel, although Joffé keeps the famous twist which the writer introduced when he produced the 1947 screenplay.

Joffe said that he made the film because, on reading the novel, he "fell absolutely in love with the character of Rose", and the treatment of this character is, in my view, the one area in which the modern film is better than the earlier one. Andrea Riseborough's interpretation of the character- downbeat, dowdy, bespectacled and needy- seems just right for the role. Rose responds to Pinkie's overtures because he is the only person to have shown her any affection, and she is naïve enough to overlook his obvious criminality and not to realise that his affection for her is feigned. Carol Marsh's Rose, however, was rather too glamorous; it was difficult to imagine her as someone lacking in male admirers.

There are also good performances from two veterans of the British cinema, John Hurt and Helen Mirren. Hurt plays the bookmaker Phil Corkery, who has a more important role in this adaptation than he does in the book. Mirren plays Ida Arnold, the woman whose determination to get at the truth results in Pinkie's downfall. In the 1947 Ida was played by Hermione Baddeley as a blowsy, ageing showgirl and a casual acquaintance of Hale; here she becomes the manageress of the café where Rose works and a close friend of the murdered man.

I was less impressed by Sam Riley who, as Pinkie, lacked the sense of menace and evil which Richard Attenborough brought to the role. At 30, moreover, Riley seemed too old to play a teenager. (Attenborough would have been 24 in 1947, and looked younger). Also, I couldn't see the point of setting the story in the 1960s, as the "Mods and Rockers" element added little, or nothing, to Greene's story. Pinkie's gang, and the rival Colleoni gang, were both part of Brighton's own criminal underworld, whereas the Mods and Rockers were drawn from all over the country, especially London, and merely chose Brighton, and other seaside resorts, as convenient places for their battles.

Joffé has also discarded a lot of the religious content of the original novel. Greene made Ida an atheist whose system of values was based upon secular ideas of "right" and "wrong", as opposed to Pinkie and Rose, both believing Catholics who believed firmly in "good" and "evil". This opposition between two contrasting attitudes to morality was an important theme of the novel, but it is not something dwelt on at length in either film. The 1947 version downplayed Pinkie's religious beliefs, possibly as a concession to Catholics unhappy with the idea of one of their flock being portrayed as a violent criminal, although it did concentrate on Rose's spiritual development. The modern film acknowledges that both Pinkie and Rose are "Romans", but for the most part avoids theological issues and turns Greene's story into the basis for a grim, grey neo-noir type crime thriller. (The 1947 film was set during a sunny summer Bank Holiday; this version appears to have been shot in winter, with Brighton largely deserted by holidaymakers). It is up to the viewer to decide which approach he or she prefers. 7/10
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By the beautiful sea at Brighton
bkoganbing12 January 2012
A really big step in the career of Richard Attenborough came when he starred in the first film of Graham Greene's novel Brighton Rock. It was so good you'd think no one would try and top it, but in 2010 the story was filmed again and the time of the story updated from post war Great Britain to the swinging sixties and the riots between the Mod and Rocker teens. That is the background for young Sam Riley to try and take a really big step in the rackets.

Which are pretty much the same as they are here although it is rare that guns are used as per the culture. Sam Riley in the lead role that helped give a boost to Richard Attenborough's career is an amoral young man who gets involved in a homicide. A revenge killing really, but a young woman who works in Helen Mirren's store can finger him for the crime.

What to do but woo Andrea Riseborough and marry her so she can't testify against him. But when Riley's crew leans on Mirren's friend John Hurt at his place of business and the guy that Riley killed was Mirren's boyfriend she'll do what it takes to take Riley down.

Some nice shots of Brighton which is like Atlantic City here, a rather run down resort area, or at least Atlantic City was before the casinos arrived. Riley, Riseborough, Mirren, and Hurt do quite well by their roles.

There is a really nice performance by Andy Serkis as a rather flamboyant gay gangster who is head of the other mob. He checks out Riley like a slab of beef on the rack at the butcher shop, but he doesn't let his lust get in the way of squelching a rival.

There's also a little more of the Catholicism of Graham Greene in the plot than there was in the first film. Even as amoral a young man as Riley does get guilt tripped quite a bit for the advantage he takes of Riseborough.

Not a bad film, but not up to what Richard Attenborough starred in.
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Brighton Rock 2011
Off-Kuff30 January 2011
We were lucky enough to be a the premiere of Brighton Rock at the Duke of York Cinema on Wednesday evening you can imagine the atmosphere in the theatre was electric -but as the first scene opened onto the screen the mood went from high spirits and applause , to complete silence as the audience were drawn into a dark and disturbing gangland world set in a 1960s Brighton.

The cinematography is grainy and atmospheric, The sound track has a strange almost religious feel to it which adds to the sense of unease as you struggle to come to terms with the evil that can exist in fellow human beings. The script and characters are very true to the book and the 1960s' setting works perfectly. In my opinion, this is one the best British films I have seen in many years.!
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Oh dear.....a 1960s Theme Park!
PippinInOz18 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
While I had heard nothing but average and - at times - really bad feedback about this film, still could not believe that Graham Greene's original and powerful tale of razor gangs in post war Brighton, with its' rich characters and meditations on Good and Evil / Heaven and Hell, could possibly be THAT bad. Can a film that boasts some excellent character actors really be that dodgy?

They answer to both of these questions is Yes, it can be THAT bad and Yes, even with a good cast, it can be dodgy.

There is something here (and I can't quite put my finger on it) that brought back memories of some English film making from the 1980s, films that weren't that great to begin with and now are almost unwatchable. It is a particular style that screams SURFACE (Post modernity has a lot to answer for) and this does.

Look I realise that comparing a re-make with an original film (or a book to a film for that matter) is a pointless exercise. From my perspective they are different texts which should be judged on their own merits, HOWEVER: it would be remiss of me not to suggest getting a copy of the original 'Brighton Rock' - Hell! (Pardon the pun) Get the Book! Then you will know just how much depth this film chose to omit.

For some reason the entire story has been set in 1964 - and for no reason whatsoever we get to watch lots of extras dressed as Mods and Rockers, although why they bothered when a cut and paste job from Quadrophenia would have done nicely. I was looking out for the Ace Face as the 'Bell Boy' outside the posh Hotel. .....and it is 1960s done very Austin Powers to boot. As I said: post modern surfaces keep bouncing anything that matters off the screen.

Why this was not set in the immediate Post World War 2 era is odd. The characters, the story line all inhabit this earlier period, none of it 'fits' in the 1960s theme park on offer here.

Another reviewer here was spot on with a glaring historical inaccuracy as well: Where Rose lives in the council flat is made to look rundown and shabby, those flats were BRAND NEW at the time the film is set. In fact most of the high rise flats were not built until later in the 1960s. Do a quick Google search and you will find that people were invariably impressed with the shining new kitchens and bathrooms in the council flats when they were first built. Also, at the end when Rose is in the unmarried mothers home - yes I know these places were not nice in England at the time, but they were not the Magdalene laundries of Ireland, which is what the film makers seem to be alluding to.

I did manage to get through it, but did press the fast forward button on several occasions. It managed to be boring, seriously boring.

A good rule of thumb in a film is to see how much direction the Extras got. Watch out for Pinkie grabbing Rose and yanking her down the Pier. Extras do not even look - and people would look, glance or maybe even stare. But no! They just carry on with their 'rhubarb rhubarb' chattiness. It might sound like a minor thing, but it is these 'little things' which contribute to the shallowness of the entire film.

Usually I remember cinematography - there is always something that is amazing, well usually. But I've drawn a blank.

Odd film. Not in a good way.
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Brighton rock review
natalie-am5 September 2011
I decided to watch Brighton Rock after I had heard good things about it and I thought it would be interesting to watch. It seemed different to other films and in a genre of it's own. It was not a bad film but at the same time it wasn't the best,I would say stick to the novel and original. The start was very slow. Helen Mirren and Sam Riley gave amazing performances and owned the film, while Andrea Riseborough gave a great performance as the annoying and needy Rose. The performances and cast make up for the lack of excitement. There are a few twist within and some action scenes that make the film that bit more interesting. It's a rememberable film but I wouldn't plan on watching it again.
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Couldn't watch more than 15 minutes, from the books biggest fan
dominictomlinson9319 December 2012
Having read the classic Graham Greene novel, and having seen the original film, and loving both, I had high hopes for this remake. However compared to the book and original this is awful in my opinion. I t is not true to the original story at all, yes character names and the basics of the plot are similar, but besides that... Of course to people who haven't read the book or know the plot, this may be enjoyable to you, but it probably won't. To many plot holes and unrealistic developments, which isn't surprising as they completely ignore a huge part of the novel. They do this so they can add their own twist on the story, but it doesn't work nearly half as well as the original. To conclude, if your a fan of the book, stay away.
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An overwrought downer whose problems begin with Sam Riley.
210west26 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Riley may be, elsewhere, a good actor, but here he's too old, too exaggeratedly creepy and sinister. It's a sour one-note performance, unrelieved by moments of humanity that might have made him, in other hands, a little bit endearing. His Pinkie spends virtually the entire film glowering menacingly at everyone, including Rose. He even glowers when he's staring into space.

Richard Attenborough, in the much more satisfying 1947 version, was of course menacing as well -- Pinkie is, after all, a killer -- but at least Attenborough was much smaller physically, as well as younger and more open-faced, and displayed an occasional touch of boyish vulnerability that made Rose's falling for him fairly believable. In this bleakly charmless remake, Riley stalks through the city like a character in an Edward Gor ey cartoon, looking so grim, so downright homicidal and malevolent, that anyone of any sense would cross the street to avoid him. And he speaks in such a hoarse, croaking snarl that when he informs Rose he was once a choirboy, you feel like laughing.

Which makes it all the more improbable that Rose would fall in love with him so quickly; the fact that she does so makes her seem -- in contrast to the touching, naive Rose of the 1947 version -- almost pathological and, frankly, retarded. She reminded me of the serial killer's mentally challenged girlfriend, played by Juliette Lewis, in "Kalifornia." And that Rose would actually brandish a knife at Helen Mirren's Ida and speak to her with such hostility, and that Ida would nonetheless repeatedly risk her own life on Rose's behalf... well, it all seems pretty unlikely.

Also unlikely: John Hurt as the frail and elderly Corkery, talking back to Pinkie and his thug sidekick when they come for their protection money, getting -- not surprisingly -- slashed and threatened for his attitude, and yet later speaking dismissively and indeed jocularly about the young man. Pinkie is an obvious psychopath, a known killer, and makes no attempt to hide it -- in fact, he all but advertises it, it's the role he wants to play -- yet the law-abiding characters, while they disapprove of him, seem to regard him without a trace of fear.

The Philip Davis character, Spicer, also seems weirdly, improbably oblivious to the danger, which is why, predictably, he winds up dead. Spicer's supposed to be a lifelong career criminal, yet he acts like a dim-witted and trusting comic-book victim who all but colludes in his own death, even returning to the gang's flat despite the fact that, hours earlier, Pinkie has rather obviously set him up and tried to have him murdered. I just don't get it.

In a series of interviews on the DVD, various cast members and the writer/director spoke of their hope, indeed their fond belief, that Graham Greene would have liked this new version of his novel. I can't agree; I think it's just as well Greene was spared having to watch it.
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An underwhelming hotchpotch.
dingoberserk24 April 2011
How strange, that in the year 2010 crime should still be explained in terms of ancient superstitions developed in a pre-scientific age, rather than in terms of recent advances in psychiatry, sociology etc. Graham Greene's obsession with 'sin', rather than with the social and psychological aspects of crime, is strongly reflected in this violent, would-be metaphysical hotchpotch based on an unlikely chain of gruesome events triggered off by the casual taking of a photograph on Brighton Pier. Among the many inconsistencies, we could mention the seemingly squalid living quarters of big-time criminals who, one might expect, would be more likely to live off the proceeds of their activities in more luxurious surroundings (although, it should be pointed out, the nature of those activities is not made clear in the course of the movie). An altogether disappointing experience, mercifully less than two hours long, in Australia at least.
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umrthompson3 July 2011
For the love of god how does this movie get more then one star???? Seriously, I thought they were going to break into song and dance when the switchblades came out. Like a scene straight out of Grease. Oh and pinkies "mob".... Um Mob of 5 - 1 at beginning of the movie = 4 ???? That's a big mob I tell ya!!! OH my lord this is so bad. This film had to of been made by a bunch of High School students. Just amazes me how anyone could say this was a good movie. It's is pure mumbo jumbo, unintelligent, misconstrued garbage. It would be sad if this review was not posted. Because it is honest. It almost felt at times this movie was supposed to be a comedy. And the music! I swore I could see Frankie Avolon in the back ground on a surf board.
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A poor show
sotheran5711 February 2011
I saw this film last night and found it to be one of the most boring films I have seen in a long time (including 157 Hours!). It is dull, slow, predictable (I haven't seen the original), full of cinematic clichés, dated in style and poorly conceived. The story line is absurd, the acting talent wasted (check out those exaggerated, obligatory southern accents). The ultra close up direction soon becomes tedious after a while, and whatever was the mods and rockers situation there to add? Overall it is like watching a corny 50s British 'thriller', maybe this was intended but the director really should know that 'thrillers' have come a long way in the past 50 years. I am sure that it will die the death that it deserves.
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