Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Review of "Brighton Rock" Film

Laws and Rules

Workers saw the new (2010) Brighton Rock, based on the Grahame Greene 1938 novel updated for 1964, with the context being the youth gang fights between the Mods and Rockers (long an interest). I read the book a long time ago but don't remember it much, just the ambience of the ever cloudy and slightly cold Brighton, and the film did capture this well.

In short the film is a serious crime drama with a love story subtext. Gritty and super-real, I enjoyed the film very much. Whats appropriate then for this blog space is the English gangster story. There are two gangs doing gambling and protection in Brighton. One is sordid and dirty the other clean and wealthy. The "rich" gang frowns-upon the (sadistic) violence of the "poor" gang. There are rules that need to be abided by, so that things don't get out of hand and suppressed by the man. The gangs had a relatively peaceful duopoly until the young modish thug anti-hero (who steals a Vespa and rides it around Brighton with all the Mods in town without getting beat up or even recognized as an outsider..which is kind of stretch) decides he wants to be the boss, and gets in over his head.

The community's informal rules (Bob Dylan's "to live outside the law you must be honest") were violated and the offender ex-communicated while the community comes together after the drama. Sometimes informal rules and norms for behavior do evolve and change for the better, however attempted "shocks" at change usually are counter-productive towards anything lasting.

The love story is wonderful, and the metaphysical ending relatedly was perfect as a counter-point to the subtext of violence during the rest of the film.