Synopsis: Brighton Rock embraces the classic elements of film noir and the British gangster film to tell the story of Pinkie, a desperate youth who is hell bent on clawing his way up through the ranks of organised crime. When a young and very innocent waitress, Rose, stumbles on evidence linking him to a revenge killing, he sets out to seduce her to secure her silence.
Sometimes a gangster film, sometimes a romantic drama, Brighton Rock doesn`t quite know what it wants to be. It is the second adaptation of Graham Green`s 1938 novel, following a 1947 film starring Richard Attenborough.
This version transports the action to 1964, to tell the story of Pinkie (Riley), a young gangster who murders the man who killed his mentor. To cover his tracks Pinkie gets involved with Rose (Riseborough), a poor and naÃ
That might sound like a linear narrative, but it's really anything but. The film pings merrily from joke to joke, flinging out gags and random bits of comedy at incredibly short intervals. The priority, you will quickly discover, is not logic or character development: David Loman's goal is to wring laughs out of its audience, as many times as possible, and there's no joke too lowbrow or too ridiculous to be flung into the madcap mix.
This magpie approach to comedy - anything and everything goes, the madder the better - is bound to result in an uneven film. Which is exactly what happens. Overall, the film boasts a few sublime moments of pure silliness, especially when David and Xiao Ho undergo resilience training reminiscent of Dodgeball's 'If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!' school of thought. But just as many (if not more) jokes miss rather than hit their targets, and some (Xiao Ho's trio of randy mistresses) are so weird it's hard to decide precisely what to think of them.
It's pretty evident that David Loman doesn't place much premium on its own plot, but it's still frustrating since it's peppered with hints of what the three lead actors can do. Chu, Kuo and Yang all excel at the double take and pratfall, and even add a little insight into their characters in the film's few introspective moments. But there's only so much they can do when what little emotional depth David Loman has is consistently shouldered aside in favour of bawdy, knockabout comedy. Xiao Ho - effectively the sidekick in this unconventional superhero story - isn't even allowed to register half as much grief at his father's (real) death as Jin does at her father's (fake) one.
Nevertheless, David Loman possesses a ramshackle charm of its own. As befits its name, the film almost intimidates the audience into feeling a sense of cheerful goodwill towards David and all the wacky mayhem that befalls him. It's not a great film by any stretch of the imagination, but there's quite a bit of fun to be had here.
Summary: There's more than dialogue that's lost in translation in David Loman, but it's amiable enough as a comedy.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars