Thursday, 9 December 2010
Brighton Rock by Graham Greene
"Hale knew they meant to murder him before he had been in Brighton three hours."
Bright Rock begins with one of the best opening lines (and has one of the best finishing lines) which perfectly sets the scene for an edge of your seat thrilling first chapter where the two main protagonists are introduced, Ida and Pinkie.
Pinkie is an interesting character. A murderer, mob member and all round nasty boy (he is only 17) he finds himself in a predicament when he is forced to marry the character Rose because he is a witness to the crime committed in the first chapter. Pinkie was also brought up a strict Catholic and as a result he spends large parts of the book pondering over mortal sin. He is also disgusted by the idea of intimacy and sex and believes that hell is all around him, he believes he is living in it.
Ida Arnold on the other hand lives life to the full and is the sort of character that will embrace life and everything it has to offer. Ida knows Pinkie is a murderer and she sets out to follow and torment him and Rose until he confesses. Ida is a huge contrast to Rose, the other main female character. Whereas Ida is feisty and street smart, Rose is submissive and infuriatingly naïve.
The action calms down after chapter one to accommodate the themes above and to allow for character development. The novel does have suspense and has a gritty realism feel to it, but I did feel as though it went on slightly too long and I found parts of the ending a little far fetched. There were also a few plot holes in the main story (why not just kill Rose) but overall I enjoyed very much my first Graham Greene novel.
They have made a new film version which is due for release in the UK in February and here is the trailer.
Dame Helen Mirren is playing Ida and as she is much older than the Ida in the book I think they have changed the story slightly to accommodate the actresses age. I am assuming this is because British films get a special grant if they cast either Dame Helen Mirren or Dame Judy Dench?
The other thing that me and Chris noticed from watching the trailer was that despite the story being set in Brighton, and the main characters being born in Brighton, all of the actors speak with a cockney London accent. Not just any London accent but a breathy 'I'm a gangster and I'll give you the concrete boots' cockney accent. Its the south coast of England FFS. However I'm sure most of the audience won't care about that and I'm sure it won't spoil the film, but nobody from Brighton talks like that.
Posted by Jess
Ida Arnold: "I'm like those sticks of rock. Bite all the way down, and it'll still read 'Brighton.'"