Brighton Rock

Rated 3.0

In the English resort at Brighton, a small-time hood (Sam Riley) kills a rival gang member, then stalks and (in an ugly way) romances the naive waitress (Andrea Riseborough) who can tie him to the crime. Meanwhile, her boss (Helen Mirren), a friend of the victim, plays detective out of guilt over his death and protectiveness toward her employee. Writer-director Rowan Joffe updates Graham Greene’s 1938 novel to the early 1960s, and the change enhances Greene’s atmosphere of seedy corruption under a veneer of brittle gentility. Some dialogue is lost in impenetrable accents (though this never hampers Mirren or John Hurt, playing a local shopkeeper), but Joffe maintains an air of gritty conviction. Riseborough, in the movie’s toughest role, can’t quite keep the waitress from looking like a complete nitwit.