An adaptation of Graham Greene's classic novel about a small-town hood who marries a waitress who deduced that he killed a rival thug in order to keep her quiet. As his gang begins to doubt his abilities, the man becomes more desperate and violent. Written by
I went to see this film with some trepidation. The original Graham Greene novel is very good and one of my favourites. The original film from 1947 was also extremely good, with Richard Attenborough as an unlikely but splendid villain. However this version was excellent. The fact that it had been updated to the 60s, which had worried me a little, worked well. Of course it did not have the period feel, but the aggression, violence and fighting for territory of the Mods and Rockers (which I remember well) echoed beautifully the behaviour of the gangsters and gave the opportunity for some very effective scenes visually. The acting I found completely plausible, with Phill Davies, John Hurt, Sam Riley and Andrea Riseborough all giving authentic portrayals. Helen Mirren, perhaps, looked a little too glamorous physically, but her acting was fine. Brighton itself was a wonderful additional character in all this. The contrast between the somewhat mindless hedonism of the holiday makers and the violent and ugly activities of the underworld was extremely effective and the use of the landscape beautiful and horrific in equal measure. The theme of sin, guilt and Catholicism was probably not dealt with as interestingly as in the novel, but that is a frequent limitation of the medium of film. Why on earth the makers of the film felt that they were entitled to "improve" on Graham Greene's ending I do not know. But it did not spoil my overall judgement that this was a very good film. I hope it will inspire those who have not already done so to read the novel.
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