Brighton Rock review

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Look at cuddly, lovey-darling Dickie Attenborough now and you wouldn't think that he was once at the jagged edge of British screen acting. But back in his pre-beardy Santa-a-like days, Attenborough truly did stretch the boundaries of what audiences were tough enough to accept. 10 Rillington Place's suburban killer Christie was harsh enough, but his nastiest role actually came 23 years earlier...

In 1947, British screen villains were a genteel, well-spoken breed... until director John Boulting's adaptation of Graham Greene's Brighton Rock and Attenborough's gut-punch of a performance as Pinky. Emerging from the shadows of a ghost train to kill a man, wooing a witness and planning her death, ruling his mob with ruthless violence - Pinky is one of the most vicious pieces of work to ever slink across a cinema screen.

Drawing on American film noir for its look and the Warner gangster movies of the '30s for its lead character, the rise and fall of this seaside hoodlum was a razor slash across the face of British Cinema. Moody, disturbing, realistic, nasty, exhilarating... pick your adjective, Brighton Rock is all of them.

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