Brighton Rock (2010 film)

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Brighton Rock
Brighton rocks poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Rowan Joffé
Produced by Paul Webster
Screenplay by Rowan Joffé
Based on Brighton Rock
by Graham Greene
Starring Sam Riley
Andrea Riseborough
Andy Serkis
John Hurt
Sean Harris
Helen Mirren
Music by Martin Phipps
Cinematography John Mathieson
Edited by Joe Walker
Distributed by Optimum Releasing
Release date
  • 13 September 2010 (2010-09-13) (TIFF)
  • 4 February 2011 (2011-02-04) (United Kingdom)
Running time
111 minutes[1]
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $12 million[2]
Box office $1,829,020[2]

Brighton Rock is a 2010 British crime film loosely based on Graham Greene's 1938 novel of the same name. Rowan Joffé wrote the screenplay and directed the film, which stars Sam Riley, Andrea Riseborough, Andy Serkis, John Hurt, Sean Harris and Dame Helen Mirren.[3]

The novel was previously made into a film in 1947 by the Boulting brothers under the same title. Although the novel and original film are both set in the 1930s, the 21st century adaptation takes place in Brighton and is set during the Mods and Rockers era of the 1960s.[4][5]

Sam Riley plays "Pinkie", the role originally played by Richard Attenborough. Filming began in October 2009. It was largely filmed in the nearby town of Eastbourne, with Eastbourne Pier standing in for Brighton Pier, and at Beachy Head. Some scenes were shot at Hedsor House in Buckinghamshire and in Brighton itself.[citation needed]


In 1964, Pinkie Brown, the sociopathic enforcer of a Brighton gang, murders Fred Hale, who has himself killed the gang leader, Kite. Brown befriends Rose, a young waitress who witnessed the gang's activity, to keep an eye on her. She falls in love with him. To prevent her from being compelled to give evidence against him, he marries her. Ida, Rose's employer and a friend of Hale's, takes it upon herself to save the girl from the monster she has married.



Rowan Joffé was originally uninterested in the project, which as first proposed was to be a remake of the film. After re-reading the novel, however, Joffé "fell absolutely in love with the character of Rose" and convinced the studio to let him adapt the novel directly.[6] Joffe later explained why he did his own adaptation of the novel:[6]

The novel was worthy of a contemporary adaptation. In fact, it makes it almost more dutiful as a filmmaker if you love the novel, to bring it to life without the restriction of censorship. I mean, a lot of the Catholicism was cut out of the original film because they didn’t want to offend Catholics... there are aspects of the film where if critics were to be honest about, and few of them have been certainly in England, that the 1947 version is a rather tame adaptation and certainly fails to do justice to the character of Rose, because the original black and white was made in a period where we were culturally and politically very patronizing to women.

Apropos to the location, Pinkie kills Spicer by shoving a stick of Brighton rock candy down his throat.


Brighton Rock premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2010[7][8] and the BFI London Film Festival in October 2010.[9]

The film was released theatrically in the United Kingdom on 4 February 2011,[10] and in Australia on 14 April 2011.[11] In the United States, IFC Films released the film in August 2011, theatrically in New York City and Los Angeles,[12] and elsewhere via video-on-demand.[13]


Brighton Rock received mixed reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 51% of 93 critics gave the film a positive review, for an average rating of 5.6/10. Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score from 1 to 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, gave the film a 57 based on 24 reviews indicating "mixed or average reviews." According to Stephen Holden,[12] "Mr. Joffé has turned Brighton Rock into a full-scale film noir with the stylistic undertow of a more modern British gangster movie. As potentially lethal as the thugs may be, they are also slightly over-the-hill small-time bookies who seem anything but invincible, and the movie gives each a complicated personality. Andy Serkis is outstanding as the oily Colleoni, a smirking sybarite and crime lord with playboy airs." Holden notes "Mr. Riley, now 31, is a little too old to play a teenage gangster, and it throws the movie off somewhat. If Pinkie's recklessly impulsive behavior is that of a frightened teenager, Mr. Riley's slick hair, facial scar and cold, wide-eyed stare suggest a seasoned smoothie who has watched a lot more dirty water slosh under the bridge than any teenager could have witnessed." Nevertheless, Holden concludes "By discarding most of the theological debate [found in the book], the movie is no longer a passion play but a gritty and despairing noir. That’s good enough for me."


  1. ^ "BRIGHTON ROCK (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 2010-12-07. Retrieved 2012-12-17. 
  2. ^ a b Brighton Rock at Box Office Mojo
  3. ^ Holden, Stephen (2011-08-25). "'Brighton Rock,' Film of Graham Greene Novel - Review". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-10-06. 
  4. ^ Dawtrey, Adam (2008-05-15). "Optimum to remake 'Brighton Rock'". Variety. Retrieved 2008-05-24. 
  5. ^ Elliott, Emily-Ann (2009-05-19). "Brighton set to Rock again". The Argus. Retrieved 2009-08-17. 
  6. ^ a b "Interview with Brighton Rock director Rowan Joffe". Trespass magazine. 4 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-27. 
  7. ^ "At TIFF: Brighton Rock Extends the Graham Greene Adaptation Curse". 13 September 2010. Retrieved 2011-08-27. 
  8. ^ Lambert, Christine (2010), "Brighton Rock premiere photos - 35th Toronto International Film Festival",, retrieved 2012-04-10 
  9. ^ Green, Emma (24 October 2010). "Brighton Rock is London Film Festival's Surprise Film". Retrieved 2011-08-27. 
  10. ^ "Brighton Rock Reveals U.S. Poster, Trailer and Release Date | Filmophilia". 2012. Archived from the original on 29 November 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2012. 
  11. ^ "Brighton Rock". Urban Cinefile. Retrieved 2011-08-27. 
  12. ^ a b Holden, Stephen (25 August 2011). "A Meek Rose Amid the Mods and Rockers in an English Resort Town". NYT Critics Pick. The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-08-27. 
  13. ^ "A Meek Rose Amid the Mods and Rockers in an English Resort Town". IFC Films. Retrieved 2011-08-27. 

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