Monday, 28 November 2011

Brighton Rock (Book Review)

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Book: Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

Reason to read: November Selection for the Movie Moxie Book to Film Club

Stepping into Brighton Rock was a bit of a strange experience, my expectations were only knowing that it was a crime book and set in the 30's and that the reaction when sharing the title for the Book to Film Club was resistance, and maybe even recoiling. I'm not one for crime books myself, and even less so about power struggles and gangs which really is what the plot of the book hooks on, but for me this one was all about the characters. Wow. The characters. I had no idea what they would do, what their motivations were or what their histories were but I always believed what they did. Sometimes it was horrifying, sometimes it was heroic. Often it was a con, actually it might have always been a con, but there was always something intriguing going on. I felt that it had a very unique perspective on age and the associations and assumptions that come with it, and really explored this in relationship to power dynamics over individuals and groups of people. There was a lot of fear in the novel though, and the use of fear to bend and twist people's choices which honestly could be a deal breaker for me and others, but there was something about it that worked so well that I couldn't help but wonder and guess where it would go next (and I was never right). The writing is excellent, likely one of the best of the club this year although we've had many fine (and fun!) choices. Never to little nor too much it was always just enough of a reveal to keep you going and curious for more. I'd never want to be anyone in the book, or go through anything they went though, but I was completely wrapped in their world.

As a title for the Book to Film Club it had a rocky ride as I was confident from the get-go that it would happen as it had a Feb 2011 UK release date but all year I had hoped we'd see it theatrically here in Toronto. The closest it got was a New York & Los Angeles release in August and I had the possible opportunity to do some interviews but... I hadn't see the film! One day I will fly to New York just for a screening I tell you, I will do it! I am very much looking forward to the film version which shifts the film period from the 30's to the 60's and has a fantastic cast, thinking of Sam Riley as Pinkie is just extraordinary choice - he's a phenomenal actor (Control, Franklyn) and I can't wait to see what he does with it. I also love Helen Mirren as (Ida), although she's not what I envisioned from the book I can still totally see her in this role.

Although we won't be seeing Brighton Rock as a film theatrically here in Toronto, it will be released on January 10, 2012 on DVD.. And it's the last of our books for the Movie Moxie Book to Film Club for 2011! I'm actually a little sad and a bit off kilter as I don't know what to read now! I've had a great time reading all and watching most of the films together, and I'll be sharing my overall thoughst of the year later in December.

If you had fun too, I hope you'll join me in the 2012 edition because I know I'll be doing it again. You can sign up for updates here and never miss a selection.

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