Brighton Rock film review

Walter Nichols’ verdict: ‘An easily digestible piece of Brit pop - shallow, melodramatic and instantly forgettable.’

Brighton Rock - 15

ADAPTING Graham Greene’s novel to the swinging Sixties, Rowan Joffe’s new version of Brighton Rock sticks close to the book’s basic story.

It charts the fall of razor-wielding young delinquent Pinkie (Sam Riley) and his girl Rose (Andrea Riseborough), with heavyweights Helen Mirren, John Hurt and Andy Serkis round out the cast.

Joffe’s film is gorgeous to look at, beautifully designed and boldly shot. Unfortunately it’s little else.


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While the 60s Mods v Rockers setting is a stylish concept, it goes no further than that: the story is not adapted much to justify it or exploit it. The film has none of the menace, surprise, or grimy shamefulness of either Greene’s original novel or the earlier Richard Attenborough starrer.

Instead, it’s an easily digestible piece of Brit pop - shallow, melodramatic and instantly forgettable.

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The cast doesn’t help. Leading man Riley, most famous for his turn in Control, is an empty, almost laughable presence, all watery eyes and funny voice.

Helen Mirren perhaps also has to learn to take her role as new national treasure less to heart, and understand it’s not her duty to put in an appearance in every single proudly British film; that every time she appears in a film like Brighton Rock, instead of helping the film, she jars you out of it by making you think ‘oh look, it’s Helen Mirren in an old hairdo, what is she doing in this thing?’

Rising star Andrea Riseborough (you’ll have seen her on television as Margaret Thatcher in The Long Walk to Finchley, or in Channel 4’s The Devil’s Whore, and she’ll be at the cinema again next week in Never Let Me Go) is the only saving grace, achingly vulnerable and na�ve.

Rating: 2/5

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