Graham Greene's 1938 novel Brighton Rock
shocked readers with its portrait of Pinkie Brown, an icy 17-year-old murderer prowling the carnival amusements of Brighton Beach. The character was still unnerving enough to make a star of young Richard Attenborough when the first screen version arrived in 1947. For this new feature, screenwriter Rowan Joffe (The American
, 28 Weeks Later
) has updated the action to 1964, for no other apparent reason except to exploit Brighton's more vivid pop-culture history as the stomping ground for rival gangs of mods and rockers. If you can tolerate the silliness of the teenage killer (Sam Riley) tooling around on a fancy motor scooter like something out of Quadrophenia
(1979), you may find this a serviceable adaptation, though be forewarned also that Ida Arnold, the 40-ish barfly trying to close the noose around Pinkie, is played by 65-year-old Helen Mirren. Joffe makes his directing debut; with John Hurt and Andrea Riseborough.