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July 01, 2008
London to Brighton (2006). Director Paul Andrew Williams
Kelly & Joanne at Brighton beach from London to Brighton
Director Paul Andrew Williams
Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian summarises key overall aspects of the film beautifully. The film is not only what can be classed as gangster heavy (Steve Chibnall) but it offers a take on the creation of the self-destructive cycle of the underclasses. The title itself is intertextual as it combines Brighton Rock and a London peopled by unpleasant crooks who at one point held enormous sway in London before the Metropolitan police was cleaned up. The macho fatalism of Get Carter (Gangster Heavy) was mirrored at the time by The Italian Job (Gangster Light). Two themes which have been identified as running through the British crime genre films. The dominant persepective in this film is from the victim position:
There are London criminals here, wielding shotguns, but the film has none of the mockney geezer nonsense that we've come to expect from British films. It's a fast, fluent, picture that grasps a horrible truth which has never much interested Guy Ritchie or Matthew Vaughn - its violent criminal men, no matter how high up the food chain, are unglamorous inadequates, all afraid and ashamed of something. It is a world of insects feeding off smaller insects, and abuse victims becoming abusers but deserving zero sympathy in the process.
A contemporary social Problem film?
A Typical British Film?
London to Brighton has several key features which make it a typical example of British cinema:
- It is low budget (in this case very low budget indeed)
- It is a sort of hybrid genre mixing aspects of social realism (by trying to represent aspects of social reality 'as they really are') with the tradition of the British gangster film. Many gangster films such as Get Carter and The Long Good Friday have strong elements of social realism embedded in them. A key difference might be that social realism tries to look at society on a deeper level by questioning the structures of society and how they might be changed, whilst the gangster film is more geared to entertainment and gaining a resolution to the plot. They tend to take things on the level of individual agency (choices people make) rather than dealing with structures of disadvantage. In many ways this links this film to the social problem film which became especially important in the late 1940s and the 1950s.
- It has difficulty in getting into the Multiplex system as there is little money available for marketing
- In terms of genre this film has a slight twist on the normal gangster thriller as the perspective tends to be from the position of the victim rather than having heros / anti-heros.
Kelly: 25 - a prostitute
Joanne: 11 - A runaway
Derek: Kelly's pimp
Duncan: Gangster who uses Derek to procure young girls
Stuart: Son of the Gangster Duncan
Production Company: Wellington films
Alasdair Clark Wellington Films
BBC Film Network coverage of Edinburgh International Film Festival 2006. Scroll down its page for Video of interview with Paul Andrew Williams winner of 'Best New Director Award Edinburgh International Film Festival'
BIFA (British Independent Film Award). Award 2006 for Best Achievement in Production