Brighton Rock

Viewed – 23 July 2011  Blu-ray

A remake of the 1947 brit-gangster movie of the same name, replacing Richard Attenborough with relative newcomer Sam Riley, and transports the story to the 60’s Mods & Rockers era.  Pinkie Brown is a small time hoodlum who is involved in the murder of the man responsible for his bosses’ death, and attracts the attention of not only the cafe owning friend of the victim (Helen Mirren) but also an innocent waitress, Rose who happened to be the last person to see the victim alive.  Pinkie chooses to go after the young waitress and ask her out in an attempt to keep her from going to the police, but his violent background and those close to Rose conspire to come between them.

With a movie that hinges so much on the relationship between Pinkie and Rose, I felt it failed to make either of them sympathetic.  Sam Riley’s Pinkie is a steely eyed thug with little regard for the woman he’s involved with, and Rose is a pathetic, spineless creature unable to stand up to a man quickly running out of ideas.  Helen Mirren offers some good support as the cafe owner, aided by John Hurt in a likable if undemanding performance for an actor of his stature.  Sam Riley is a touch one-dimensional too, coming across as an actor doing an impression of a gangster, but failing to convince … a real let down following his excellent turn in the underrated Franklyn.  Intentional or not, Andrea Riseborough’s performance as Rose lacked the depth needed to convince me she was infatuated in Pinkie, therefore leaving me not really caring about her.

Director Rowan Joffe’s movie may be a loving tribute to a classic movie, but his casting seemed a little misplaced, and the story was only marginally gripping.  He  seemed more in love with the setting of Brighton than that of his characters, and with that in mind, the movie is very atmospherically shot, has some good orchestral music and some visually icon moments.  For a brit-gangster movie though, there is much better out there, and as a remake, I felt it didn’t work well enough to stand on its own.

Verdict:  2.5 /5

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