As Gangster Flick Brighton Rock hits cinemas, we look at what films might get you in the mood
A mischievous girl accuses her older sister’s lover of a crime he did not commit, only to find that her words have irrevocably and permanently changed the lives of all involved in a film that re-teams the filmmakers behind Pride & Prejudice to adapt the best-selling 2002 novel by author Ian McEwan. The year is 1935, and as the summer heat takes hold, 13-year-old fledgling writer Briony Tallis watches her older sister, Cecilia (Keira Knightley), get undressed and go frolicking in the garden fountain on her family’s country estate. The housekeeper’s son, Robbie (James McAvoy), a childhood friend and recent Cambridge graduate, also witnesses the innocent act. When Robbie and Cecilia subsequently cross a particularly sensitive boundary and the scheming Briony accuses Robbie of an unspeakable transgression for which the boy is wholly innocent, the repercussions of her unfounded claim threaten to affect all three for decades to come.
The Long Good Friday
The gritty thriller that launched Bob Hoskins’ career shows the half-pint hard man in the role of an East End gangland boss whose prophetic plans to rejuvenate the Docklands area of London are being threatened. A British cinematic first, this film was gutsy enough to tackle American cinema at a genre they had made their own, and is fascinating for the culture gaps it opens. Hoskins gives a growly, charismatic performance as the kingpin brought low by phantom forces over the course of an Easter weekend, memorably treating his opponents with the single-minded, brutal violence he feels they deserve…
Putting the Brit crime flick back on the map, Antonia Bird’s vision of the contemporary London underworld combines the gangland atmosphere of The Long Good Friday with Tarantino style. No mere “heist-gone-wrong” movie, it’s a sortie into the aggressive, brutal lives of the criminal underclass. Ray (Robert Carlyle) is a “face”, a known criminal on the cops’ usual suspects list. He and his mate Dave put together a team for a heist promising a catch of upwards of two million quid. But when the cash falls seriously short of the jackpot, it becomes obvious that there’s a traitor in the group, forcing Ray to confront his past, flush out the killer and track down the missing loot back to the local nick. As the film traces the impact of the bungled job and the group tensions that evolve as a result, the Reservoir Dogs influence is strongly apparent. Bird forces us to stay with these hard men until we can identify every scar under the balaclava – not a pretty sight.
Ben Kingsley steals every scene he enters as the deranged, psychotic and downright terrifying gangster Don Logan, whose vituperative campaign of intimidation against Gary Dove (Ray Winstone) makes for uneasy but frequently hilarious viewing. Most disturbing of all – Kingsley claims the character was based upon his own grandmother. Able support from the likes of Ian McShane (who’s since kept up the bad-guy image with TV series Deadwood), Amanda Redman and James Fox ensures there isn’t a single weak link in this critically-acclaimed and stylish gangster flick.