Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Brighton Rock

Continuing the British theme of recent posts. 'Brighton Rock' is a new film version of Graham Greene's novel. The earlier film version was made in 1947. In this version the events are updated to 1964 when Mods and Rockers are flexing their muscles against each other in the seaside resort of Brighton. This is the background atmosphere for the main game of the plot, a battle for supremacy between two gang groups who run the protection rackets. The film opens with the murder of a member of the less powerful gang what follows is the to and fro of revenge and counter revenge.

Pinkie (Sam Riley) is young, ambitious and ruthless. When Pinkie learns that a local tea shop worker may have witnessed his murder of an opposing gang member he befriends the young woman in order to neutralise any possibility of her providing evidence as to his crime.

Although filmed in colour, the movie has the atmosphere and style of 1950s black and white film noir. I very much liked the look of the film. It's well acted with a strong British cast including an unglamorous looking Helen Mirren as the tea shop manager. However, it is not a pleasant film. Most of the characters are nasty, unpleasant and violent.

I suspect Greene's novel makes much more of the religious references which in this film are mainly background issues.

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