Harry Brown - Review

Idris By Idris, 28th Feb 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Film & TV>Crime

Harry Brown, a film that addresses the many issues of youth crimes...by shooting them in the face...

Harry Brown

First things first, and its something that should be made light on very early:
the posters for this film are very deceptive in showing you what kind of movie this actually is. Take, for example, this one.
The Mod style circles and trained cross-hairs coupled with Michael Caine in a pose of utter composure and ultimate Badass-ness suggests a one man against the world picture.
The fact that Caine looks like he could shave the hairs off your chin with a revolver, only adds to the feeling that this movie is going to be a no-mercy, action epic that will be held together by Caine's un-quivering gangster coolness.
The greytoned figure of a hooded individual in the background suggest that the bane of shopping centres across the land have amassed into a clever swarm that will make up the fodder for Caine's character.
All together the layout suggests that a whole load of Ipcress File espionage has been slapped across the top just to make it a perfect vehicle for the British legend.

While some elements of this are true, people expecting a tragedy in the first 3 minutes and a bullet fuelled bloodbath in the next 90 are probably going to be disappointed in that respect.

Review - No spoilers

Harry Browns revenge doesn't - oh it's a revenge movie if the poster didn't make it clear- come from a single defining moment of heartbreak or loveloss but from the incremental pressure of losing your world piece by piece and Brown's pivotal moment does not come in the form of a snap but more it swells up in the on screen tension and within the audience creating a sense of righteousness, relief and satisfaction when the killings start rather than the shock, awe and disbelief that some movies achieve *cough*Kill Bill*cough*.

Daniel Barber seems to have made it his duty to make you utterly depressed and physically unwell by the end of the first act, to double if not quadruple the justification for Brown's actions and he succeeds magnificently, the bastard.
The hustling bustling city centre has been sacrificed for a decaying London Borough, the bright lights and sharp suits have been replaced with dull earthly tones and some less than hygienic characters and the corporate, well financed and "professional" bodies that occupy the space Caine's bullets call home have been replaced with those teens that you 'just don't like the look of'.

The ultimate result of this creates a feeling of "just too close to home for comfort", magnifying the dread felt within you to a more than alarming level, subsequently your inner defences are shouting at Brown to start killing even before he has a valid reason to. This is not to say that you won't be shocked, or awe-inspired or even disgusted because chances are you probably will, as there a few surprises along the way

Caine's support in the movie doesn't go unnoticed though, David Bradley (filch from Harry Potter) plays his usual grumpy old man self as Harry's only friend in the world... and we can all guess what's going to happen there.

Emily Mortimer (that woman from 51st State - Not Robert Carlyles Mum)plays a D.I. that shows particular interest in this area and serves as the main lawful influence needed to make the movie seem more genuine.
So genuine in fact that the ineptitude of the police seems only average compared to the complete and utter elbow licking stupidity that is shown in other movies of this type.

Harry Brown would have suffered if it had any A-listers in it other than Caine, as the drive of the story requires the characters to be believable beyond mere acting, notable performances from 'I've seen him in something else before' Sean Harris and 'I was the bad guy in Tomb Raider' Iain Glen only anchor the film in your thoughts after the credits.

If there is a downside to Harry Brown, it is the length, it's a short movie and you can feel that it is short. To me, at least, it felt like there was something else for the this killer pensioner to do before the final curtain, but its a minor setback and doesn't detract from making the movie any less than brilliant.

Review Summary - No spoilers

Harry brown is a Crime Drama at its best, a perfect role for Michael Caine as there are few others that can be imagined in this role that could do it justice.
The movie is well paced and its realistic appearance and events make you believe that something like this could happen and only confirms your suspicion that the cause of Harry Brown's actions happens all too often throughout the country.

A stellar movie that gives an opportunity for the now violence obsessed and desensitised masses to see what happens when Michael Caine dispenses Justice.

Idris gives it: 8/10

IMDB: 7.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 77% fresh


Drugs, Emily Mortimer, Gang, Harry Brown, Hoodlums, London, Michael Caine, Under-Age, Violence

Meet the author

author avatar Idris
Hello there, Seems all I've been writing here is Film reviews. Come and peruse my gallery of classics and contemporaries that I've irreverently had a look at then talked about at great length!

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