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Brighton Rock in 1964?
on 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.