Who's it in: Sam Riley as Pinkie, Helen Mirren as Ida and John Hurt as Phil Corkery, introducing Andrea Riseborough as Rose.
Why it's a must-see: Because falling for the wrong guy is something that we can all relate to.
Beautifully shot as a historic adaptation of the 1947 film, loosely based on a novel written by Graham Greene, Brighton Rock can easily be overlooked as a snazzy gangster flick if not for the obscurely attractive lead characters and the tragedy of their down-spiraling lives. Currently in theaters, it is the United States release of the British IFC Films directed by first timer Rowan Joffe.
The plot: Newcomer, Sam Riley, who looks an awful lot like a young Leonardo DiCaprio, portrays the villain and lead character in Brighton Rock -Pinkie. With his vicious cheek scar and devilish eyes, 17-year-old Pinkie has a demeanor that only a mother could love. In the opening scene, the leader of his gang meets an untimely demise and Pinkie, being the youngest and lowest man in the gang makes plans to become their leader. He’s chosen to pursue a timid, yet abiding young waitress, named Rose, played by Andrea Riseborough, because she’s a witness to the faces of the men involved. Of course, Rose, falls madly in love and the oddest courtship and questionable love story begins.
Rose works for a female restaurateur, Ida, portrayed by veteran Helen Mirren who gets involved when a dear friend comes up dead. Her accomplice, Phil Corkery, played by John Hurt meets Pinkie head on, after discovering his plans for dear, sweet and vulnerable Rose.
Both Pinkie and Rose are conflicted young lovers and each promising starlet holds their own against heavy weight co-stars with genuine and sometimes prickly performances. Brighton Rock, like the novel that holds the same name, is essentially about innocence and ambitious corruption during a time in pre-WWII when the youth gangs and violence reached a breaking point. Instead of taking place in the 1930s, this adaption unfolds during British history when corrupting forces of youth violence; sexuality and the crumbling of that Church-based morality were all motivators of criminal activity. What is a young couple to do; fall in love, start a life of crime together and try their best to hold on to the Christian beliefs they were raised on? Of course, nothing goes as plans and causalities are evitable.
The film is a skillful masterpiece and surely a must-see for those that appreciate good noir cinema with thrilling performances and surprise endings.