Let's Talk Off Broadway

Yvonne Korshak reviews Off-Broadway, Broadway, Film and Art

Tag: Helen Mirren

Film Note | Brighton Rock | With Sam Riley, Andrea Riseborough, Helen Mirren, and Andy Serkis | Directed by Rowan Joffe | Based on the Novel by Graham Greene

… the hesitation …

I went to Brighton Rock (not usually going to gangster films) because Graham Greene writes great stories and I hoped this one would survive the movie.  It does:  the story is terrific and the film is well done, and well worth seeing.

And at heart an absolute classic on how to build a character and a story on … hesitation.

Set in Brighton, England in the 1960’s, the film tells the story of Pinkie (Sam Riley), a small-time, ruthless gangster trying to be a bigger one.  Killings lead to killings and as Pinkie’s group tries to take over from a rival, powerful gang, Pinkie commits a revenge killing.  On the sunny Brighton boardwalk filled with strollers and “every day” people, Rose (Andrea Riseborough), a waitress in a café, innocently taking the air and reading, accidentally comes into possession of evidence linking Pinkie to the crime, and thus is drawn into his murderous life — it helps that he’s handsome, though awfully grim.

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Film Note | The Last Station | Starring Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren | Directed by Michael Hoffman

The Last Station is about the last phase in the long life of the great Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, when writing novels has faded in importance for him, and what matters most is the utopian movement that had his name — Tolstoyan.  Count Tolstoy has come to detest privilege, hence his support of his movement with its focus on social justice.  The movie gives us views of his endlessly vast lands and of his serfs engaged in back breaking labor, reminding us that this is a reasonable development in the the thinking of an intelligent and compassionate author.  In line with his ideals, he’s about to sign a will that will leave all future royalties on his books to the Russian people.

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