The last time a beloved classic was effectively remade as a vehicle for up-and-coming British actors, and anchored by one of the grandest dames of U.K. cinema, the film was Brideshead Revisited and the dame was Emma Thompson.
Brighton Rock is a remake of a universally adored 1947 crime film, starring a young Richard Attenborough in a distinctly un-kindly-grandpa-who-owns-a-dinosaur-park role - based on an equally treasured novel. In other words, the film has a lot to live up to, but with the always amazing Helen Mirren giving her stamp of approval as a co-star, our hopes are high.
|It's never easy to live up to the original film - especially when it has a well-deserved 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes.|
The remake is set in the 1960s, on the gritty, gangster-ridden streets of Britain. Riley - fresh off his Edinburgh Film Fest Best Actor win for his performance in Control - stars as Pinkie Brown, an upwardly-mobile criminal with a distinct scar on his right cheek. When sweet and innocent waitress Rose (Riseborough) happens upon evidence linking Pinkie to a murder, he sets out to seduce her to keep her quiet.
Mirren - endlessly versatile and still a bombshell in her sixties - stars as a friend of Rose who tries to save her from Pinkie's clutches (really now, he is possibly sociopathic, but he's no glittery vampire). Yet the two lovers form a deep, though dangerous, bond: As Pinkie says to Rose in the trailer, just before a kiss in the rain, "You're good, and I'm bad. We're made for each other."
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While the film received some tepid early reviews on this side of the Atlantic, it garnered high praise on its home turf, despite its remake status (The Guardian called it "a masterpiece").
It promises to be a complex crime film with a charismatic, layered villain - the kind who draws the viewer in, even when you want to look away - wrapped in a visual style that will charm film noir and gangster film fans alike. We can't wait to be seduced.
For Brighton Rock showtimes and directions to FilmBar Phoenix, click here. The best part about seeing a gangster flick at FilmBar? You can toast the protagonist's lecherous lifestyle with a pint of your own.