Sam Riley – star of the critically acclaimed Control – returns in February for Rowan Joffe’s debut feature film Brighton Rock. The film was premiered in September at the Toronto Film Festival and will open in UK cinemas February 4th.
Brighton Rock features a talented mix of British veterans and some up and coming talent including Sam Riley (Control, now shooting Walter Salles’ On The Road) as Pinkie, the fast-rising Andrea Riseborough (Madonna’s WE and a BAFTA nominee for the eponymous role in Margaret Thatcher: the Long Walk to Finchley) as Rose, Oscar winner Helen Mirren (The Queen, Gosford Park) as Ida and John Hurt (1984, Hellboy II, The Proposition) as Phil Corkery.
Adapted from Graham Greene’s iconic 1939 novel, Brighton Rock charts the headlong fall of Pinkie, a razor-wielding disadvantaged teenager hell bent on clawing his way up through the ranks of organized crime. At the heart of the story is the anti-hero Pinkie’s relationship with Rose – an apparently innocent young waitress who stumbles on evidence linking Pinkie and his gang to a revenge killing that Pinkie commits. After the murder, Pinkie seduces Rose, first in an effort to find out how much she knows and latterly to ensure she will not talk to the police. A love story between a murderer and a witness; can Pinkie trust Rose or should he kill her before she talks to the police? Can Rose trust Pinkie or is she next in line?
The film was written and directed by Rowan Joffe whose credits include the screenplays for the upcoming George Clooney thriller The American, Pawel Pawlikowski’s award-winning Last Resort and Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s 28 Weeks Later. He also wrote and directed the multi award-winning single drama Secret Life for Channel 4, and directed Channel 4’s The Shooting of Thomas Hurndall, which won Best Director and Best Actor awards at the 2009 BAFTA TV Awards.
Produced by award-winning producer Paul Webster (Atonement, Pride and Prejudice, Eastern Promises) for Kudos Pictures, Brighton Rock marks the first major production investment by Optimum Releasing, and has been made in association with BBC Films and the UK Film Council’s Premiere Fund.
Joffe decided to set the film in 1964 with its famous South Coast quasi-riots between emerging teenage Mods and older Rockers, which contextualizes Pinkie’s ‘youth rebellion’ perfectly. 1964 also brings the story as close as possible to our own times without corrupting the innocence upon which some constituents of the plot and characterization depend. The Sixties was the era of the great British gangster, the kind of working class hero that the frightened and ambitious Pinkie longs to be. It was also the last year in which the death penalty was actively carried out, the threat of hanging being a crucial motivation in Pinkie’s desperate attempts to get rid of witnesses to his revenge killing.