DVD review: Brighton Rock [MA15+]

Dir: Rowan Joffe
Stars: Sam Riley, Andrea Riseborough, Helen Mirren, John Hurt

The Film
Right off the bat, I’ll say it – I haven’t read the book this was based on. I went into this film completely blind, I didn’t even know the synopsis. These days, I actually prefer watching a film for the first time knowing as little as possible. In this case, I think that technique paid off, as I rather enjoyed this film.

Set in 1964, around the beach of Brighton, crime is running at a steady pace. Our main character Pinkie one day decides to off a rival, but all does not go to plan. Earlier that day said rival had an interaction with a young woman, with some evidence that could damage Pinkie. In a move that he believes will save him, he begins to see the woman Rose, a waitress, and the two begin a very dangerous relationship. Rose’s employer Ida begins to suspect there is more going on, the situation for Pinkie seems to get more dire, as he clearly doesn’t have a handle on things.

Oh to be a criminal back in the 60’s, things were as complicated then as they are now, but perhaps it was easier to keep on the down low. Brighton Rock does a fine job of transporting its audience back to that era, and it does so without skipping a beat. All aspects of that time have been painstakingly captured here, and it pays off. The film feels authentic, and it looks amazing. Every little detail is in tact, from the costume design, to the locations and sets, to the script and style of the film. Colour me impressed!

As great as the film was visually, equally as strong were the performances. Sam Riley and Andrea Riseborough were both quite fantastic in their respective roles, having just the right amount of chemistry to make their strange relationship work. Mirren and Hurt are top notch actors, and the roles they played here they could have done in their sleep. They definitely added more to the film, and it is always great to see them. I loved Andy Serkis in his small role, one to keep an eye out for. The other bit players are also very solid, but not as memorable.

Unfortunately what brought this film down a little was the script, the structure was just a little off with the story. After the first 20 minutes or so it struggles it keep interest and at times it felt as though it wasn’t sure what it wanted to go with next. The opening to this film however is one of the best put together and interesting ones I have seen all year. It is a shame the rest of the film couldn’t keep up with it, the pacing was on and off and it slowed down when it needed to speed up.

Over all Brighton Rock is a very solid effort, and I enjoyed it for the most part. It is always gorgeous to see such attention to detail with setting the time. I felt as though writer/director Rowan Joffe wanted this to feel like a 60’s era film in tone, and in a way it was. This is a film I can easily recommend, it is a good watch.

The Australian DVD 
Audio/Video: The video is a 2:35:1 widescreen presentation. Picture quality is absolutely stunning, very vibrant and sharp. Audio is presented with Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0, it also is stunning, and it does the amazing sound design of the film justice.

Extras: The DVD is a 2-disc release:
Disc 1 – Feature
Audio Commentary with writer/director Rowan Joffe and editor Joe Walker – This is a solid commentary, with great in-sights. Rowan really does not leave a stone unturned, and listening to this really helps understand the film and make it a well rounded experience.

Disc 2 – Extras
The Making Of Brighton Rock – This is a very in-depth making of feature, running at a solid 30 minutes. It is definitely interesting to see how this film came about and to hear from the people involved. Something this in-depth is what you wish for with film, it just makes the experience that much better.
Extended Interviews with Rowan Joffe, Sam Riley and Andrea Riseborough – Not a bad addition, it doesn’t really add anything new but worth watching all the same.
Deleted Scenes – There are quite a few deleted scenes here, and very much worth a watch. They do add more layers to the film, but easy to see why they were cut.
Mad or Rocker? – This was alright, but left me wondering why?
Anatomy Of A Scene – A nice addition, always great to see this on a release.


Thanks to Ben from MadMan for his support.

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