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The opening scene shows a gangster desperately making a phone call to one of his mates. He is on the run, and there is nowhere to hide. Before a fellow gang member can get there, the rival gang has killed him. Young Pinkie Brown, portrayed by the impressive Sam Riley, arriving on the scene, knows his life has changed. Events have forced him to make a decision - should he take the helm of his gang? A following scene shows his hesitancy in killing the man who killed his boss. At that point, he can't quite muster the determination, and anger, required to kill his boss' assassin. That soon changes - he grows into the role he has assumed for himself.
He also has to deal with a possible witness to a crime he and another gang member have committed. The witness, a young woman named Rose, who just happens to be in the vicinity of the crime, saw Pinkie and a fellow gang member as well as the member of the other gang who had killed their leader. Shortly afterward, Pinkie and Spicer, his mate in the gang, kill the other gang member under the boardwalk.
Rather than risk her telling her story to the police, Pinkie decides to "romance" her. Romance, however, is an inaccurate word for his intentions - he simply wants to prevent her from talking. The scenes detailing their emerging relationship are a bit hard to accept. Pinkie shows little affection or humor in their interactions. One gets the feeling that he has scant ability to show emotion to anyone, and little experience dealing with women.Read more ›
There are plot departures from the book. And not all are minor departures and these may upset you if your a purist. However, I feel the essence of what Greene intended with his novel was seen and brilliantly portrayed in this film. The different ending from the novel is unfortunate, but in spite of that, the strength of the film and Riley's unparallelled performance hold it together.
The story takes place in 1964 in Brighton, once a quiet seaside town, is suddenly overrun by gangs of sharp suited Mods and greasy Rockers looking for a riot. Looking to be the top Mod gangster, Pinkie Brown (Sam Riley) will stop at nothing to be the biggest name in the crime world - bigger than the competitor Colleoni (Andy Serkis). Pinkie witnesses the vicious death of fellow Mod Kite (Goeff Bell) and is determined to kill the perpetrator Hale (Sean Harris). Pinkie's ruthless and violent ambition takes over his mission and when he discovers that a waitress named Rose (Andrea Riseborough) who works at Snows, a cafe run by Ida (Helen Mirren), is involved tangentially in the murders, Pinkie decides to court the plain jane Rose, knowing that if he marries her she cannot testify against him should she discover Pinkie's guilt in the murders. Ida had a 'connection' with Hale and sees through the veils of deceit Pinkie is placing on the innocent Rose, and she and her longtime friend Phil (John Hurt) undermine Pinkie's plans. Pinkie marries Rose - a gesture that secures Rose's fascination and new love for Pinkie - to keep her from testifying against him.Read more ›
The film looks gritty, but suffers from a lack of internal narrative logic in adapting Greene's material to the screen. Minor characters who initially seem important play no clear role in the story, but serve only to distract from the main events. On that score, Andy Serkis is just weird (neither menacing or particularly relevant to the plot) as Brighton's friendly local mob boss and John Hurt is wasted in a small role that constantly threatens to be more significant than it turns out to be. Maurice Roeves ("The Last of the Mohicans") shows up in a welcome role as the local police inspector, but vanishes after just one scene. Plotting is convoluted, with the initial murder sequence being introduced in a confused way and the motivations of characters (just why the heck does Mirren's restauranteur get so involved to the point of putting her own life at risk?) remaining sketchy at best throughout the proceedings. Mirren's part, despite being so integral to the film, feels particularly underwritten as we strive to understand how her character evolves from a cafe manager into an amateur detective who demands interviews with local mobsters.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This movie sucks to high heaven. The scene where Pinkie leads a gang of punk retards to a revolt of some sort as the ride through town on mopeds and moments later Pinkie gets his... Read morePublished 7 months ago by R. Baurer
I purchased this movie because I adore Sam Riley. He's an excellent actor.
It is a good story with a surprising ending.
If you are a Sam Riley fan he is really good in this movie (and evil!) you will like it. I also love Sean Harris who has a small, but great part in this. Read morePublished on June 18, 2014 by T. Hellstrom
I was awaiting this film with great anticipation.It does deliver.It is a decent story with the historical background of the times.Published on March 23, 2014 by Byron
Fans of BBC Sherlock might recognize Phil Davis, who has a supporting role in this film -- he's the twisted cab driver murderer in "A Study in Pink. Read morePublished on January 12, 2014 by Amazon Customer