I haven't seen the original Brighton Rock, or read the novel, so excuse me for not pointing out how unlike those two this movie is. Besides, a film should be judged in its own merit, not in comparison to what it's based on. You can never have a truly faithful adaptation of something.
So, Brighton Rock is a gangster movie. The original was set in the 1930s, but this version is set in the 1960s, 'cause why not. We follow our leading man, Pinkie (Same Riley), a bit of a nutcase who's intent on rising up in the gangster scene in Brighton. When his mob's leader gets accidentally killed by a rival mob, he goes crazy on the perpetrator, only to be caught in the middle of the cover up so the rival mob and the police don't take them all down. Trouble is there was a witness, Rose (Andrea Riseborough), so Pinkie decides to court her to keep her close and her mouth shut.
The main crux of the film is based around covering up the crime, and it seems quite a flimsy premise to work on when a lot of gangster films nowadays span a whole range of different storylines and tangents. But in this case it makes for a nice little self contained film that allows for some proper character development and a story that doesn't feel too rushed. Still, it did leave me wishing for a little bit more story wise, as it did get a bit stale after a while.
Riley really steals the show as Pinkie. He has to be one of the biggest assholes I've ever seen in a movie. Most people who are total dicks always seem to have some redeeming point to their personalities, but Pinkie just sneers and snarls all the way through Brighton Rock, and just when you think he's going to do something nice he tops himself on the bastard chart. The multitude of scars he gathers throughout only make him more menacing. Riseborough does a great job of playing Rose too, and the relationship between her and Pinkie is fascinating to watch as it goes through its ups and downs.
Brighton Rock may not be the best gangster movie out there, but it's certainly worth a watch. The characters are well rounded and well played, and while it's not the most gripping of storylines it's enough to keep you interested, with some great settings in and around Brighton throughout.
My rating: 4/5