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Brighton Rock

Brighton Rock

By Patrick Samuel • June 18th, 2011
Static Mass Rating: 5/5
Optimum Home Entertainment 

Release date: June 20th 2011
Certificate (UK): 15
Running time: 106 minutes

Director: Rowan Joffe

Cast: Helen Mirren, John Hurt, Andy Serkis, Sam Riley, Andrea Riseborough

Reinventing a classic like Brighton Rock (1947) was always going to be a difficult task, not just because of the source material, Graham Greene’s 1939 novel, but also because of the era and genre defining performance by Richard Attenborough as the baby faced gangster, Pinkie.

So Rowan Joffe’s approach instead was not to remake the film, but re-adapt the novel for the screen and what he’s done here now ranks as one of my favourite films of all time.

Brighton Rock

Set during the Mods and Rockers era in 1964, the story centres on Pinkie (Sam Riley), a young man who’s hell bent on clawing his way up through the ranks of organized crime. First though, he’s got to sort out the little business of a murder gone wrong. There’s someone who can tie him to the crime – innocent and impressionable waitress Rose (Andrea Riseborough) who has no idea that she’s got a piece of evidence that can get Pinkie the death penalty.

He seduces and eventually marries her, but Rose’s boss at the tea shop, Ida (Helen Mirren) becomes worried about what she’s getting into. When Ida finds out about the murder and why Pinkie is interested in Rose, she becomes determined to see him go down for the crime he committed. This puts poor Rose in even more danger than before and it all converges in a nail biting climax on the cliffs at Eastbourne.


  • Audio Commentary
  • Extended Interviews
  • Boulting’s Brighton Rock with Rowan Joffe
  • Anatomy of a Scene – The Making Of the Record
  • Mod or Rocker?
  • Kenneth Hume’s Mods and Rockers
  • Alternative Opening Sequence Storyboard
  • Making Of Brighton Rock
  • 6 x Deleted Scenes
  • Stills Gallery
  • Rowan Joffe Interview
  • Sam Riley and Andrea Riseborough Interview
  • Trailer

This new version of Brighton Rock moves away from the British Noir aesthetic that the original is so well known for, but there’s something much, much darker here. The recording that Pinkie makes is still the moment the film hangs on, when we hear him speak the words “You wanted a recording of my voice, well here it is. What you want me to say is ‘I love you’…” I find the emotion here is intensely magnified, this is in part due to the amazing performances by both Riley and Riseborough, the direction, cinematography and a score by Martin Phipps that’s suspenseful from the very opening scenes and heartbreaking in these moments with Rose. We know how much those words mean to her and why she needs to hear them. This is film magic, right before we hear Richard Hawley’s ‘There’s A Storm Comin’.

Brighton Rock

I shouldn’t be surprised that Optimum have packed so many extras on this release, but first I should say that it really must be experienced on Blu-ray. The colours and tones are rich and the sound is crisp and clear. There are a lot of interviews with the cast and crew, Rowan Joffe seems like the kind of director I would love to sit and chat with. He takes us through the making of the film and explains some of his ideas for an opening scene that was never filmed, why he wanted to set the story in 1964 and why it wouldn’t work in our present time.

Brighton Rock

I was truly surprised by how much I loved Brighton Rock and how far apart it is from the 1947 version. There’s more here than in any other re-adaptation, remake or re-telling I’ve come across in a long time.

It has a strong visual style, a perfectly told story of a soulless young man and a woman desperate for love and truly outstanding performances.

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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