Wednesday, February 2, 2011

'Brighton Rock'

Last night saw the UK premiere of a new adaptation of Graham Greene's classic novel 'Brighton Rock'. It stars Helen Mirren as 'Ida', Andrea Riseborough as 'Rose and Sam Riley, as the infamous villain 'Pinkie'. Whilst I'm interested to see what this new film is like; as it has an impressive cast, something irks me.

The original novel is set around Brighton in the 1930's. However this new adaptation is now set, in the 1960's. Whilst being interviewed at the premiere of this new film, Helen Mirren said that the reason for the change in era, was so that audiences (particularly younger members) would be able to relate to the film, than if it had been set in the original era. I partly understand this, but is it right to take a novel, set in a particular time and then completely change its era?

Would it be acceptable for example, to take a film like 'The Other Boleyn Girl', which is set in Henry the Eight's time and set it in the 1970's? My example may be a little silly, but I believe, that changing the time period that a book adaptation is set in, could seriously alter the message that the writer had originally set out to put across through out their novels.

What do you think? Does it bother you when films adapted from books have serious time/plot changes? Or do you see this as artist license and can enjoy being told a tale again, with a different approach?


  1. I find it irksome, also. As far as young people relating that makes no sense to me. If that were the case every historical movie/play/TV show we need to be changed because how well can we really relate to 16th century? I think one of the worst movies ever made was Romeo and Juliet remade into modern times. Perhaps it's because the characters used the language of Shakespeare but sped around in automobiles and dressed in 20th century fashion. ACK! I've gone on a rant!

    A post filled with food for thought.

  2. Well, I have not seen this version of Brighton Rock, but my feelings are that it is a piece set in a certain time and that is what it portrays, so I cannot believe that the new version will do anything for the concept of the book and the original interpretation in film. The book is a classic and that is where it should remain. I will rant along with Teresa - in unison possibly!

  3. Mmmmmmmm....I don't know. I think I feel like there are instance in which when period changes like this constitute a fresh approach and can turn out really good. But I'm not sure Brighton Rock is an example of that. I feel like they haven't made a compelling case for the period change.