Sunday, December 03, 2006

LONDON TO BRIGHTON - disturbing British drama

LONDON TO BRIGHTON is a disturbing, sinister, tightly plotted and brilliantly acted British film by writer-director Paul Andrew Williams. He plunges us straight into the action: two frightened prostitutes - one a young woman called Kelly, one a homeless pre-teen girl called Joanne - are on the run from a pimp called Derek. The settings, language, costume and make-up are uncompromising. There is a depressing matter-of-factness with which the older woman earns the money for the train fares from London to Brighton.

Once in Brighton, the plot slows down a little and we get to know Kelly and Joanne better. Kelly displays a touching maternal instinct towards Joanne, but it never descends into a hackneyed "tart with a heart of gold" portrayal. As for Joanne, despite being involved in a brutal act of violence - one we learn about in discreet but powerfully suggestive flashback - she retains the single-minded casual selfishness of a child. Both Lorraine Stanley and Georgia Groome give outstanding performances in these roles, although I was more than a little disturbed by how young Georgia is to be portraying such a character.

If I have any criticism of the film it lies in the way the plot resolves itself in the final fifteen minutes - a twist that I found very predictable and somewhat against the tone of the rest of the film. But this is a very small point against a film that is otherwise uncompromising, gripping and not to be missed.

LONDON TO BRIGHTON is on release in the UK.

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