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3.5 out of 5 stars87
3.5 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 27 July 2013
As someone born and brought up in Brighton I was pretty open-minded about the notion of a second movie based on Graham Greene's novel, "Brighton Rock", and as a twenty-year-old in 1964, the year Rowan Joffe chose to place his re-imagining of the book, I was likewise open to how the town would seem at that time as a place in which to relocate the action. Of course many things in the original novel have been changed by Joffe (the screenwriter of Pawlikowski's "Last Resort",(2000), with Dina Korzun and Paddy Considine), themes are given different emphases, and Eastbourne stands in for Brighton in many of the scenes, including its famous pier. These things are in any case not sacrosanct.

But what of the movie as a movie? The cinematography is striking and the "look" of the film is starkly stylish with, in particular, some stunning crane shots - especially the scenes shot at Beachy Head. The individual takes are short and often fragmentary, which lend the film a brittle and nervy dramatic character, in keeping with Sam Riley's playing of Pinkie, the central character, a murderous youth with a very short fuse. Andrea Riseborough (quite unrecognisable in spectacles) is outstanding as Pinkie's "girl", Rose. The rest of the cast is highly distinguished and includes terrific performances by, among others, John Hurt, Helen Mirren, Andy Serkis, Nonsoe Anosie and Phil Davis.

Better or not so good as the 1947 film with Richard Attenborough? It doesn't matter. The 2010 "Brighton Rock" is different, both from the novel and the earlier movie, and as such is well worth viewing. It has its own highly successful dramatic integrity, pace and character.
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VINE VOICEon 18 September 2011
Despite the largely negative opinion, I rather enjoyed this adaptation, an interesting and gritty contrast to the Attenborough portrayal, which looks and sounds very true to the era (the story having been transported to the 1960s) and the gangster culture of that time, makes excellent use of its tawdry Brighton locations, depicts very three dimensional characters, and comes over as thoughtful, intelligent and menacing in equal measure. I'm less sure the subtlety of Pinkie & Rose's relationship is really understood, though the beautifully handled finale, using Pinkie's self-recorded 45 does a splendid job of romantic wish fulfilment for Rose, whose desire is to be loved. Worth seeing, especially for the excellent cast. Everyone knows Helen Mirren, but I always love to watch Phil Davies (remember him in Quadrophenia?) - look out for more fine British character actors too!
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on 3 August 2014
In my opinion, yes it is! Not often that I like a re-make of a film more than the original but this is one! Although I still love the first film I think this one surpasses it hands down. Pinkie and Rose are played to perfection, in fact there are no weak links in any of the characters. Sam Riley takes Pinkie's character to another plane, brilliant actor! I saw it at the cinema, bought the DVD and have watched it many times. If I had to pick fault at all it would be with the scooter riders; don't look too hard, a lot of the riders were probably teenagers when the original was made! But that aside I really rate this film as excellent. The ending was different and unexpected, I thought it worked really well. Wish all re-makes were this good!
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on 14 January 2015
I've knocked off a star for the cop-out ending!

Despite Rowan Joffe pleading on the voice-over that the book's final page is too downbeat for cinema and that the earlier film had found a better balance, this is simply not so. Pressure from the film company and (partly) censorship forced the change in 1947 but Graham Greene knew what he was doing in the novel, even though he sanctioned/co-wrote the syrupy film-ending.

An excellent radio adaptation in 1997 showed exactly how powerful Green's original was. Rose, having lost her beloved Pinkie, clings on to the only thing that's left...but is in for a terrible shock as the radio dramatisation concludes just like the book. For an audience, it's riveting, shocking, and terribly disturbing.

On every other score I have nothing but praise for the new version. Had Joffe followed the original, a splendid, validly-updated movie might have equalled the fabulous 1947 icon of cinema...but it doesn't and isn't. Shame.
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on 8 November 2011
Good re-make and very absorbing, but why alter the ending of Graham Greene's novel? Don't watch if feeling down, it won't help!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 January 2013
The stylish cinematography (often expansive) and the menacing, mysterious score (almost like in Hitchcock films) give this film a big screen feel, but something doesn't quite lift it to the sort of suspense movie it could be. It has the makings of a psychological thriller but something doesn't quite work. I think its because the central character (Pinkie) is the weak link in the cast. it ends up looking like a small screen drama being given the cinematic treatment and not quite getting lifted. I think also we miss some of Pinkie's motivations because there isn't much background on him when the film starts, it's almost as if there is half an hour missing from the start of the movie. Nevertheless Helen Mirren and John Hurt are class acts, impeccable in their craft as always. I like the 1960s setting, it looks very authentic and with superb eye for detail to bring that era onto the screen.
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on 16 August 2015
I didn't know what to expect but gradually I was taken over by the sheer intelligence of the portrayal and having grown up about that time, quite surprised by how convincing it was when most other movies attempting to do the same falter somewhat. One could nitpick of course at certain details (the mods and scooters etcetera) but overall not much to complain about. In fact I found it more riveting than the original, the main scar faced individual more convincing than the illustrious original and Rosie ( Andrea Riseborough) absolutely magnificent and compelling to watch, and to fear for and care about. Well done Andrea. Few remakes surpass the original and I think objectively this one does. Incidentally, John Hurt and Helen Mirren are quite magnificent also in the context of the period represented. I knew people like them at the time.
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on 28 December 2011
I suppose this new adaptation of Graham Greene's 30s novel deserves some credit for having ambitious intentions. It shifts the action to the early 60s, thereby placing it against the backdrop of the Mods and Rockers conflicts. It features heightened, starkly lit visuals. And it attempts to draw intense performances from its actors. But somehow, the disparate elements never gel. For a start, the pacing is poor. Once the initial premise is set up - a young hoodlum enters into a doomed relationship with a waitress in order to prevent her from implicating him in a crime - several functional scenes follow each other in predictable succession with little sense of tension or danger. The other problem - which stems from the first - is the presentation of the theme of Catholic guilt. Using shots of churches, crucifixes and religious paintings, Joffe keeps insisting that we take his film as a study of people seeking salvation for their souls, but because we haven't grown attached to the central characters, these spiritual ideas fall flat too. A disappointing mis-fire.
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on 30 August 2015
This is a pop revisitation of classic Brighton Rock. Visually interesting, with good acting performances, but with not much interesting points
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on 24 October 2011
Another Brit film with great reviews. I put it on thoroughly looking forward to it and ended up turning it off after 45 minutes as it was so bad. The acting is weird. It is affected and almost theatrical from all the characters. The film lacks suspense and was really boring to the point where you just do not care about what is going to happen to the characters, none of whom are very likeable. I like Andrea Riseborough having seen her in other stuff, and she is very sexy,but she seems unable to play characters in anything but this almost comic style. She was really miscast and came across as very irritating in the film. It is rare that i find a film to be unwatchable to the end, but this was one. Very boring film, and it should have been one i liked as the story line was right up my street, and you have to wonder what is going on with all the great reviews. Could it be that because this film is British the reviewers are blinded as to how awful it is? possibly. Avoid
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