Monday, May 16, 2011

Brighton Rock – what's the deal?

I've read Brighton Rock, I've seen the old film and now I've seen the new film and I have to say, I just don't get it.

It's sort of a classic (certainly in shops it's always displayed prominently) but it's just not that good a story. In the novel it starts off a mildly interesting murder mystery between warring Brighton gangs before descending in to a bunch of religious hokum. The films are worse, as they have the chance to shed this fat and turn it in to a potentially good story, but both are long, boring and ultimately implausible.

The whole thing falls down due to the central conceit of Pinkie trying to marry Rose to stop her testifying. He's meant to be a vicious gang murderer but for some reason seems unable to dispatch Rose, instead deciding to charm her and marry her to gain her trust and therefore silence.

Yet he does this by abusing her and being utterly cold-hearted to her and in return she, for no clear reason (no background to explain why she loves someone acting with clear hatred towards her), falls in love with him in spite of this and we are left watching this hate-love set-up with nothing but bemusement and then boredom.

She should leave him, he should just kill her. Instead, it labours towards a lame conclusion on the cliff tops as he attempts to get her to commit suicide in a fake lovers suicide pact. Why doesn't he just kill her himself? What's more she's so pathetic throughout the book / film and then willing to go through with the pact that by the end I wanted her to just get it over and done with and save us all some misery.

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