8.5 out of 10
Release Date: 1st December 2006
Cast: Lorraine Stanley, Georgie Groome, Johnny Harris, Nathan Constance, Alexander Morton, Chloe Bale and Sam Spruell
Writer: Paul Andrew Williams
Trailer: LONDON TO BRIGHTON
To be proofread: London To Brighton is a very well presented little thriller that grips from its earliest moments until it’s wrought finale. The story maybe predictable and each of the characters well-established types but the actors and the script doesn’t let that stop London To Brighton being one of the most satisfying UK financed thrillers of the last ten years. Thanks to realistic and very committed performances from a very talented cast it’s vital viewing. The director and writer Paul Andrew Williams has since gone on to prove himself as a versatile film director – most recently he made the ‘grey pound special’ Song For Marion (his first wobbly step for me!). London To Brighton is his best so far though. It’s an astonishing debut.
Kelly (LORRAINE STANLEY – ESSEX BOYS RETRIBUTION) is forced by her pimp Derek (JOHNNY HARRIS – LAST DAYS ON MARS) to find a child on the streets for one of his perverted clients (ALEXANDER MORTON). The client happens to be the head of London’s criminal underworld. Kelly finds Joanne (GEORGIA GROOME – THE DISAPPEARED) at Waterloo Station. The rendezvous at the clients turns deadly so Kelly and Joanne go on the run to Brighton, leaving Derek to pick up the pieces and account for himself to the clients psychotic son, Stuart (SAM SPRUELL – THE HURT LOCKER).
Giving heart and soul to the two runners Lorraine Stanley should have forged an amazing career for herself by now. As the tough but sensitive and caring Kelly she almost carries the whole film on her back. You really invest in this woman’s journey as she tries to appease for the unforgivable situation she willingly walked into for a lousy £100. Georgia Groome is also perfect as the naive 11 year old runaway that ends up in a ‘worst case scenario’ from hell! Kelly’s journey into the light is hard won, yet fantastic to witness. Predictable yet scary there’s only going to a handful of outcomes a film like this can end up with. Johnny Harris is all too real and raw as the desperate Derek who must find the girls within 24 hours or die. I felt sorry for his friend Chum (NATHAN CONSTANCE) who almost silently gets dragged deeper into the situation through blind loyalty to Derek, where as he could have probably have walked away at any point until the ending. Sam Spruell could have been a caricature but his portrayal of the bereft kingpin is all too real. The locales in Brighton are well chosen. The empty promenade on a weekday, free of bathers! Lonely chip shops and penny arcades are their refuge. The house where Kelly’s old friend lives is reminiscent of so many houses that I visited when I lived in Brighton and was so glad to leave behind. Sad to see that these kind of places are so common in Brighton that they have popped up in a movie!
It’s a shame that the lead actress Lorraine Stanley hasn’t been able to capitalise on her amazing performance here. It’s testament to how hard it must be for our most gifted to find truly decent roles in independent filmmaking circles. Only this week she has stolen an entire film in under 3 minutes of screen time in He Who Dares, a really poor Die Hard rip-off, add this to another cameo in the 100th Essex Boys murders tribute film, she certainly deserves a leg-up! This lady needs better roles! Someone in the casting industry send her a lifeline I implore you!
8.5 out of 10 – Predictable but very gripping thriller that I’d recommend to virtually everybody that appreciates quality cinema. Reminiscent of Neil Jordan’s Mona Lisa. Elevated by great performances from the central four actors. Watch it!
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Lorraine Stanley: No Reasons, A Hundred Streets, Suffragette, The Guvnors, Top Dog, The Hooligan Factory, He Who Dares, Hooligan Wars, Essex Boys Retribution, GBH, Big Fat Gypsy Gangster, Made In Dagenham, Cass
- Georgia Groome: Papadopoulos and Sons, The Holding, The Disappeared, Angus Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging
- Johnny Harris: This Is England ’90 (TV), Fortitude (TV), Monsters 2, Last Days On Mars, Welcome To The Punch, Snow White & The Huntsman, Huge, This Is England 88 (TV), This Is England 86 (TV), Black Death, Dorian Gray
- Sam Spruell: Good People, Child 44, Sixteen, Taken 3, Starred Up, The Counsellor, Snow White and the Huntsman, Sex & Drugs & Rock-n-Roll, Defiance, The Hurt Locker