This remake of Graham Greene's 'Brighton Rock' is a heavy-duty slab of gangster noir with no shortage of violence.
"Brighton Rock," Graham Greene's famous 1938 novel about a sociopathic teenage gangster was made into an equally famous 1947 film starring a young Richard Attenborough in a performance that gave an entire generation the cold creeps.
Set in 1964, at the cusp of the mods and rockers era, the remake of "Brighton Rock" is a heavy-duty slab of gangster noir punctuated by moments of virtuoso violence. Unlike most British crime films these days, this one doesn't take its cue from a relentlessly assaultive film like "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels," which placed its audience in the cross hairs along with the bad guys. Writer-director Rowan Joffe has a more old-fashioned take on thuggery. He lets it play out in real time with an almost operatic flourish.
Sam Riley's Pinkie won't erase the memory of Attenborough for most people who saw the earlier film, but this scar-faced mannequin with ultra-slick hair is scary enough. He carries a bottle of acid in his pocket but he doesn't need to, really. His very presence is acidic.