12 January 2012 | bkoganbing
By the beautiful sea at Brighton
A really big step in the career of Richard Attenborough came when he starred in the first film of Graham Greene's novel Brighton Rock. It was so good you'd think no one would try and top it, but in 2010 the story was filmed again and the time of the story updated from post war Great Britain to the swinging sixties and the riots between the Mod and Rocker teens. That is the background for young Sam Riley to try and take a really big step in the rackets.
Which are pretty much the same as they are here although it is rare that guns are used as per the culture. Sam Riley in the lead role that helped give a boost to Richard Attenborough's career is an amoral young man who gets involved in a homicide. A revenge killing really, but a young woman who works in Helen Mirren's store can finger him for the crime.
What to do but woo Andrea Riseborough and marry her so she can't testify against him. But when Riley's crew leans on Mirren's friend John Hurt at his place of business and the guy that Riley killed was Mirren's boyfriend she'll do what it takes to take Riley down.
Some nice shots of Brighton which is like Atlantic City here, a rather run down resort area, or at least Atlantic City was before the casinos arrived. Riley, Riseborough, Mirren, and Hurt do quite well by their roles.
There is a really nice performance by Andy Serkis as a rather flamboyant gay gangster who is head of the other mob. He checks out Riley like a slab of beef on the rack at the butcher shop, but he doesn't let his lust get in the way of squelching a rival.
There's also a little more of the Catholicism of Graham Greene in the plot than there was in the first film. Even as amoral a young man as Riley does get guilt tripped quite a bit for the advantage he takes of Riseborough.
Not a bad film, but not up to what Richard Attenborough starred in.