Brighton Rock

A new adaptation of Graham Greene’s masterpiece.

Dana Stevens

Sam Riley in "Brighton Rock." Click image to expand.Sam Riley in Brighton RockThe old saw that great novels never make great movies has some pretty robust evidence on its side. But Brighton Rock, Graham Greene’s compact masterpiece of a gangland thriller, at least gives rise to consistently decent ones. The 1947 John Boulting version is a satisfyingly well-crafted movie-movie, with a script co-authored by Greene, gritty location shooting, and Richard Attenborough’s chilling performance as the psychopathic gangster Pinkie Brown. Now, Rowan Joffé (the son of The Mission‘s Roland Joffé, making his writing and directing debut) has remade Greene’s novel in a streamlined modern version, with a little more explicit violence thrown in—and, unfortunately, a few of the best character and story details left out. This Brighton Rock (IFC Films) doesn’t live up to the greatness of the novel (or even, really, the very-goodness of the 1947 movie), but it doesn’t betray Greene’s book either, which may be all a reasonable reader and filmgoer could ask.

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