Brighton Rock - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Brighton Rock Reviews

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Super Reviewer
August 24, 2011
Upon the murder of his gangland boss, a young hoodlum kills the perpetrator in retribution but he must find a way to silence a potential witness in the form of a smitten waitress. The idea of transferring Graham Greene's classic novel to the 1960s certainly has its appeal and the scenes involving the rioting mods and rockers are really nicely done by first time director Joffe. He also has a very good eye for an image, which combined with some attractive cinematography, clearly echoing that of the most celebrated Greene adaptation The Third Man, makes for a very good looking film. Helen Mirren also proves she can still turn on the sex appeal as the ageing cougar hell bent on preventing Rose from making the same mistakes of her own youth and John Hurt can always be counted on for some characterful support. Joffe's inexperience behind the camera does show however, in that some of the visual metaphors are rather heavy handed, particularly for the rather unsatisfying concluding scene. But by far the biggest problem for me was the protagonist; Pinkie is a thoroughly unpleasant character on every level and Sam Riley's sullen performance makes for a "hero" it's impossible to like or have any sympathy for whatsoever. For this reason it's not perfect, but Brighton Rock certainly has its moments and shows some promise for Joffe's future career.
Super Reviewer
December 6, 2010
Cast: Sam Riley, Andrea Riseborough, Andy Serkis, John Hurt, Helen Mirren, Philip Davis, Nonso Anozie, Sean Harris, Steven Robertson, Maurice Roëves

Director: Rowan Joffe

Summary: In hopes of silencing a waitress (Andrea Riseborough) who saw him kill another criminal, a young thug (Sam Riley) decides to romance her and suss out how much she knows. But at what point does his premeditated plot blossom into true passion? And are either party's motives 100 percent pure? John Hurt and Helen Mirren co-star in writer-director Rowan Joffe's film adaptation of Graham Greene's novel.

My Thoughts: "I've never read the novel nor have I seen the previous film, so I have nothing to compare it to. I feel those of us who haven't read the book will be at a disadvantage, for this film was made for those who have read it. There are some things that happen that are not explained which sometimes doesn't bother me, but in this case it does cause you feel lost. The screen writer and director should have been more clear with some of the scenes. Like for instance, Pinkie. Does he or doesn't he love Rose? But then maybe were suppose to come to our own conclusion on the matter. All I know is this film makes me want to read the book just so I can fully understand the film cause it is an interesting one besides the plot holes. Some of the character's are under-developed and leave you guessing at how they all fit. Helen Mirren is Rose's boss, but then there is incident where you are to believe she may be Rose's mother, but it's never confirmed. Things like that can drive a movie lover mad. Moving on...The acting is pretty great. Helen Mirren is fantastic. I try to see any and every film she attaches herself to. I think she's a wonderful actor. The movie itself is a dark tale of love, murder, and revenge. See it if you've read the book or like being lost in a film."
Super Reviewer
½ December 7, 2010
Based on a Graham Green novel, Brighton Rock was previously made into a British adaptation back in 1947. But where the novel and original were both set in 1939, this modern re-telling has been updated to 1964. The re-imagining adds to the narrative immensely. There's a certain stylishness to 1960s era England amidst the clashing Mods and Rockers that's very appealing. These are hoodlums, but they wear natty suits and ride Italian scooters. It all kind of suggests the British New Wave, a neo-noir thriller if you will.

Brighton Rock is highlighted by an expressionistic style that uses shadows, rain and religious iconography to set the mood. These stylish visual flourishes are further complemented by a musical score by award-winning composer Martin Phipps. At once ominous and beautiful, it's reminiscent of the sumptuous music of a classic 1940s film noir. It's decidedly old fashioned and I enjoyed how the vocal cues complemented the action on screen. This is the feature debut for screenwriter Rowan Joffé who just happens to be the son of director Roland Joffé (The Killing Fields, The Mission). Talk about pressure. Brighton Rock is not the hard-hitting political story his father is know for, but he does have a way with setting a mood. The evocative music and poetic visuals help dress up a slight story that is still is an excellent character study. There is much to enjoy in this minor, but entertaining period drama.
Super Reviewer
½ June 28, 2011
the original novel by graham green was backsetted in 1930s, a decade when the perception of right and wrong, the contrast of good and evil was in the binary oppositions. it's about adolescent deliquency as well as the skeptism of religion. it's a story about a teenage gangster who ruthlessly slaughters several men in a row, desperate to create himself an alibi by seducing a bystanding young-girl into his romantic conquest. later he even marries her just to keep her mouth shut. but ill-fatedly the female confidant of one of his victims never nullifies her search for the real killer and vows to snatch enough evidences to turn him in to the police. forced by circumstance, the boy coaxes the girl, his wife by now, into committing suicide together with him. (but he plans to let her do it first then he would be freed and take off for good by eliminating the only survived witness of his crimes)..but his crooked scheme fails due to some un-expected intrusion. eventually the evil teen dies, and the gullible good girl survives with a heart-aching memory for her "one true love."

the controversy between the novel and the two screen adaptations would be the ending. in the original novel, the girl requests the boy to record his voice in phonograph right after the wedding day, and the boy cannot get out of her persistent request, so he utters something like: "i know you wish to hear that i love but i don't. and i hate you. i don't like the way you look, the way you sound..i wish you get out of my life, away for good" (stuff like that)..the novel's ending is that she plays phonograph just to listen to his voice in order to mourn him, then she's about to discover the cruel truth of life...but in both of the movie adaptations, the record gets scratched so the phonograph repeatedly plays "i love you" to leave the girl in rapturous solace. (kinda funny, isn't it?)

the boy's name is pinkie brown. in this version, sceneries shift to the 1960s britain while youth riots were in great heat, which is handy to create more chaotic street scenes of violence to accompany the murders between gangsters. also, this version seems to tenderize and sanitize every character, and somehow dissolve the seething misogynism in green's novel (the young girl is a lovelorn sap; the old woman who performs the justice is a babbling vulgar old lace with her half-wit sentiments). pinkie brown is also beautified by sam riley, whose interpretation turns this character into a countercultural anti-hero who is merely driven by the circumstances to protect his own self-interests. you could sense the reluctance in him in his performing of crimes. some of the love scenes would even make you wonder whether he truly doesn't care for her as much as he thinks he doesn't. also pinkie brown in the novel is a boy in his early teens, but here pinkie seems more like a grown fresh-faced young man in his early 20s. in one scene, riley even rides in a vespa scooter leading the motorcycle gang in a dashing poise.

the gullible young girl here is also romanticized into some sort of romantic heroine who fearlessly dives into love by the actress. in the 1947 version, the scratched phonographic record does create a sardonic sense of black humour but in the new version, it's simply tragic to see her weeping solemnly for her "one lost love" under a cross. (somehow she shall never ask for pardon because of her belief in this one-sided love..damnation in hell according to catholic theology.) in general, every character is redeemed with some saving grace, and even the old-lace (the suprmee embodiment of green's misogynism) becomes a dignified character with ease and grace as well as her fervent belief in justice and integrity.

thus, the new adaptation of brighton rock is an eulogy for the countercultural england during 1960s when the demarcation between good and evil are smeared off with the liberal containment of human complexities. the ending also has a mild dose of grotesque beauty which permeats in oscar wilde's dorian gray, the fragile aesthetic juxtaposition of youthful beauty and horrid disfigurement as pinkie brown gets his fair-lad features marred by the acid, stumbles poetically off the cliff in dismay. (gee, he is such a feast for the eye, cheers to the homme fatale!)

BUT i must say, i prefer to the hard-boiled 1947 noirsh version when good and evil are distinctively definited in dichtomy, which is just as stark as its black-white chiaroscuro cinematogrpahy. villains there are vile enough to invite your rashing rejoice for sins just as richard widmark ecstacticly pushes the old lady on wheelchair off the stairs in "the kiss of death."
Super Reviewer
½ February 4, 2011
Inferior to the 1947 version, Rowan Joffe's Brighton Rock is an interesting film nonetheless and certainly worth a watch. The updating to the sixties largely works and the backdrop of the riots doesn't overwhelm the story but instead adds some nice textures. The film looks beautiful too - cinematic, in fact - something often lacking from British cinema. The performances are fine with Andrea Riseborough and Helen Mirren standing out. Sam Riley is decent as Pinkie but lacks the needed threat, and his accent is a bit wobbly. The darkness inherent in the source material is here in celluloid too, although the ending is changed (it's the same ambiguous ending from the original film which was apparently changed with Graham Greene's approval). Overall, this is certainly more successful than not.
Super Reviewer
June 6, 2011
Pretty interesting
April 3, 2012
Interesting take on Graham Greene's classic novel noir. This version moves the story from the 1940s to the mid 1960s, placing all the murder, betrayal, suspense, and Catholic guilt in the midst of the Mod/Rocker violence that was depicted so well in the Who's album and film "Quadrophenia". Disconcerting at times (with all those army surplus coats and scooters I kept expecting to hear "Love, Reign O'er Me" in the background), but in the end it works, largely due to good performances all around. Engrossing story and beautiful to look at.
½ August 14, 2015
This one is under-rated, probably because its a remake. A little muddled in parts. (Why isn't helen Miran Scared of anyone? why is pinky suddenly in charge? why does he stop to pray when people are chasing him).Generally well acted, well directed.
August 31, 2013
fucking awful watched this cos of quadrophenia but yuck wat a mother fuckin copy
½ June 30, 2013
By removing the religious subtext from Greene's novel, the film BRIGHTON ROCK, proves a fairly innocuous and ultimately tepid semi film noir. Not bad at all and in fact, quite good at times, the film leaves no lasting impression aside from Helen Mirren's dazzling performance. The two leads unfortunately are way too bland to fill in the blanks from what is cut.
½ January 17, 2012
I have one word for this. ssslllooowww. This was probably the longest 1 hour and 45 minutes of my life. Which really let down the entire movie. The acting was good, the cinematography was the best part, but it was completely bogged down by how slowly paced it was. Another big thing I missed were the character shifts. When did Pinkie go from being a lackey to being the leader? Because it randomly happened and I was lost. Also, I have no idea what that whole relationship was between Pinkie and Rose. By the end, I figured out what the writing wanted it to be, (a delusional woman who is madly in love with a man who obivously doesn't love her back) but that's not what I got just from watching it. Like I said, the acting was good, especially Andrea Riseborough as Rose and Helen Mirren as some random boss person who just happens to know everyone. Andy Serkis also had a fun bit part as a mob boss. Plus, the cinematography was really cool. There was some awesome shots in there and that aspect overall was really well done. But in the end, cinematography and acting can't save a boring and scattered script.
March 10, 2013
Filme fraco... história fraca e horrível.. atores péssimos.. um completo lixo!
November 10, 2012
After seeing the original film, which I loved, I decided to take a look at this new redo of Greene's novel. Although it's not as good as the 1947 film, it has some interesting "personal touches" that prevent this remake from being just a copy of the original film. First, Rose's character: here, her background and her story are much more highlighted, and I, who wished to see more of her (and her relationship with Pinkie) on the 1947 version, was satisfied to see her character more often. I liked watching Riseborough as the new Rose; she captured her innocence quite well. Riley's Pinkie is overshadowed by Attenborough's previous performance. His Pinkie was more feral and out-of-control than Attenborogh's cold and quiet psychopath. The film begins with Kite's (a fatherly figure for Pinkie) death, and so it almost justifies the young man's madness (which wasn't very necessary). The photography and the music are beautiful, though. A good remake, but not an excellent one. Can be confusing for those who haven't read the book or watched the previous film. My advice: if you were thrilled enough with the novel and the 1947 version, give this one a chance, but don't expect too much of it.
December 28, 2012
The film just isn't on the same level as Sam Riley is - thankfully his energetic performance and charisma make up for a tragically overloaded script...the scene with the Mods on Vespa scooters was quite enjoyable though.
November 11, 2012
so this is what Sam Riley did when he's not Ian Curtis. I love it, Rose is so stupid but I can relate to her... or I'm just blinded with Sam Riley like she did, I don't know... Should watch the classic one I guess, this one feels bit comical
½ October 25, 2012
Looked absolutley amazg! But if i have to be honest i wasn't tremendously impressed . The film starts off brilliantly, you are dropped into a world of gangs and murder but as it progreeses i found myself becoming more and more bored. As for the ending i didn't feel like it hit the spot and was left feeling un fufilled. A great idea but lacks in substance and in gripping an audience for longer than an hour :/

June 4, 2012
Not a patch on the 1947 version, but still has some gripping moments.
May 27, 2012
A beautifully shot film let down by an occasionally heavy script. It reminded me of how much i love Graham Greene's work. Interestingly Carey Mulligan was meant to play Rose but went for ummm Wall Street - Money Never Sleeps.
May 23, 2012
Magnificent, superbly acted and beautifully shot. True to the book and the original film, but still feels fresh and edgy.
½ May 19, 2012
Gritty, emotional, dark and edgy. Loved Brighton Rock! Sam Riley is fast becoming one of my favorite actors and this film was perfectly cast! Brilliant! As a remake probably not necessary.
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