Brighton Rock (2010)

When upcoming gangster and ongoing sociopath Pinkie Brown (Sam Riley) is caught on camera in the throws of murder, he must find the owner of the slip which corresponds to the professional seaside photograph as it could be used as evidence against him. Tracking the awkward Rose (Andrea Riseborough) to the cafe in which she works, Pinkie quickly antagonises the establishment’s manageress, Ida (Helen Mirren), as he endeavours to seduce and corrupt one of her hard-working waitresses. Taking a break from his ongoing mission to replace Brighton crimelord Colleoni (Andy Serkis), our resident evil weds Rose so that she cannot be forced to give evidence should he ever wind up on court. On to him in a big way, Ida enrols the help of John Hurt and tries to stop Pinkie before he can silence Rose for good.

Joined by four fellow cinemagoers, two of whom would leave by film’s end and one of which would not stop audibly yawning throughout, I think it’s safe to say that I have never been less engaged with a movie that didn’t star Adam Sandler or boast the word Twilight in its title. Brighton Rock had me actively fighting for consciousness, its humourless downer too melodramatic to invoke any semblance of an emotional reaction: good or bad.

Featuring one of the most pathetic heroines since Bella Swan, honorary hours are spent watching Riseborough moon despondently at Riley’s scarred face. As she transforms from wet naif into budding accomplice, informing old ladies where they can stick their waitressing jobs and presumably drawing penises onto her fellow workmates’ doilies, it is impossible to care all that much. Let her life hang in the balance, if she doesn’t give a shit then why should I waste one of mine?

From John Mathieson’s pollised veneer to Brighton’s welcomingly lapping waters, absolutely nothing sticks as Pinkie goes about his business as expressionlessly as possible. Undoubtedly malevolent and merciless, he fades far quicker from memory than Serkis’ flamboyant ringleader. Megamind, the year’s most compelling criminal, was totally right, it is all about presentation. In this instance Riley is reading straight from the page in one of those monotone voices that seem to drag on forever.

It’s true, I haven’t seen the original, read the book or bought the t-shirt, but I don’t see why that should matter? Surely the whole point of a remake is to say something new, circumventing the need for a entry point or previous experience. The 60s setting, with it’s Mods and Rockers, is completely lost on me, while the central relationship is so uninspiring it left me asking why this particular story required a first incarnation, let alone a third. While Helen Mirren poses admirably as a redeeming feature, there is little to entice me back to Brighton for further visits. Edinburgh has Rock too, and it doesn’t taste so tediously bland.

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

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