Brighton Rock

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					“Brighton Rock,” (2010) is, apparently a British television treatment,
the second adaptation to be made, of outstanding British author Graham
Greene’s classic, early career, downbeat novel of the same name,
BRIGHTON ROCK. This 111 minute full-color romantic crime
drama/thriller, for which I see a BBC Television production credit, was
the film debut of Rowan Joffe (28 WEEKS LATER), who both adapted for the
screen and directed. It draws upon film noir and gangster elements from
its predecessor, and did receive a theatrical release.

The production has been moved from the Depression 1930s, in which it was
written and set, to the fraught 1960s, during which, in Britain, sharp-
suited Mods and greasy Rockers were frequently at each others’ throats.
It is, of course, still set in Brighton, once a quiet seaside resort
town, with some historic artifacts and buildings from the days when it
was a favorite royal resort. Mod gangster Pinky Brown, survivor of a
rough childhood, has witnessed the vicious death of fellow Mod
gangster/surrogate father Kite at the hands of Hale, member of an
opposing gang. So Pinky makes it his business to execute Hale. But the
none-too-bright Rose, who waitresses at the local tea room, Snow’s, has
been immortalized in a shot by a boardwalk photographer of Hale and her
that shows Pinky following Hale, just behind his prey. Older and wiser
heads in his gang advise him to romance and seduce the waitress, in
hopes of preventing her telling the police what she saw. So Pinky
begins on this program, which he finds rather distasteful. But,
unfortunately, he has been destabilized by recent events; he will become
more desperate and violent, and will begin to act out in ultimately
self-destructive ways.

The film is a little off-balance, as the young lovers are played by
rather inexperienced actors, Sam Riley (CONTROL), as Pinky, and Andrea
Riseborough, (W.E.), as Rose. Several older, stronger, more experienced
actors are in smaller parts. Oscar and Emmy winner Helen Mirren, (THE
QUEEN, PRIME SUSPECT), plays Ida, Rose’s boss at the tea shop. John
Hurt, (ALIEN), plays Phil Corkery, local publican. Andy Serkis, (THE
LORD OF THE RINGS), plays Colleoni, rival mob boss. And solid
supporting actor Phil Davis, (WHITECHAPEL), plays Spicer, older member
of Pinky’s gang.

And this 2010 adaptation is often compared, to its detriment, to the
brilliant 1947 black and white adaption that starred a young Richard
Attenborough. That one was adapted for the screen by Greene himself,
and noted playwright Terrance Rattigan, and is considered a film noir
classic. But the earlier film is hard to find. Nevertheless, the more
recent version is still a dark film that gives the viewer a good sense
of Brighton at the time. Its mood is well transmitted by
cinematographer John Mathieson, and it receives enhancement by the
atmospheric score by the gifted British composer Martin Phipps, godson
of esteemed British composer Benjamin Britten.   The newer version is
distinctly light on Greene’s recurring themes of sin, guilt, and
Catholicism, as compared to its print inspiration; it has also been
given a happier Hollywood ending. Still, it’s likely this remake would
have been better received if the 1947 version weren’t available for
comparison. Worth a look-see.

				
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posted:9/21/2012
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