Dir: Paul Andrew Williams, 2006
The British, take their fair share of knocks. Whether it’s an untrue stereotype that British people have bad teeth, or that they have only two accents (Cockney and upper class) and only drink tea, the public of Great Britain take it all squarely on the chin.
But, one thing that cannot be denied, is that the country excels in making gritty drama. Standing head and shoulders above Hollywood, Britain has such rich diversities that writers have a wealth of history and experience to work with.
Credit where it’s due, the US have produced a fine display of realism in their ever expanding body of work. Yet, Hollywood insist on using a gloss filter that weakens the impact of the film. The UK have seldom done that.
Ironically, despite America being the most lucrative in porn and prostitution, it’s Britain that has the greater insight and can depict such careers with a realistic ferve, exposing the sleazy side that few others can achieve.
London To Brighton is a truly grim piece, that successfully shows the seedy and depressing life that comes hand in hand with being a sex worker. The violence and risks associated with that line of work, are brought to the forefront as director Williams, serves the viewer with a raw and sugar free helping of depravity that leaves the viewer with a very sour taste in the mouth.
However, that is what the film needs if it’s going to work and it does so brilliantly.
London Is Brighton is an incredibly challenging film for its young star, 14 year old Georgia Groome. Playing a 12 year old runaway, Groome has to deal with the subject of child abuse and prostitution. Like Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver, the Nottinghamshire born lass does a wonderful job and totally steals the film. Running rings around the whole cast, Groome is the real star and deserves to have a greater career. One can only hope, that more offers come her way.
London To Brighton isn’t an entirely original idea. A short film from the nineties called Groove On A Stanley Knife, has a very similar plot of two girls who feel from drug dealers after stealing their cash. Both movies have that grimy feel and deal with bonding. It’s also rather unfortunate, that the film treads on stereotypical ground with Cockneys carrying shotguns and screaming “facking cants”.
Williams’ film is, without a doubt, one of the best British movies of the past decade and is a superb entry into the catalogue of gritty dramas.