Harry Brown

"Excellent"

Harry Brown Review


Gritty and almost unbearably intense, this British drama not only offers yet another terrific performance from Michael Caine, but it also marks the feature debut of a filmmaker to watch.

Harry Brown (Caine) lives on a grim London estate where his quiet life is constantly interrupted by a gang of violent teens. As his wife lies dying in hospital, his best pal (Bradley) is the target of these thugs' abuse. And the detectives (Mortimer and Creed-Miles) looking into the situation don't seem to be doing anything about it. Pushed into a corner, Harry defends himself with his long-suppressed military training, then becomes more aggressive about cleaning up the streets himself.

Intriguingly, filmmaker Barber continually resists letting this become a revenge thriller, which is what it most closely resembles. For the kids on his estate, violence has become entertainment. But Harry's actions are seen less as retribution than as the last resort of a tired man who can no longer silently sit by as his entire world collapses around him. And while the film is deliberately exaggerated, it also sharply catches the collapse of old-world society without ever creating cartoonish characters.

Sure, many of the villains who populate this film feel like caricatures, but each actor is given surprising layers to play with. The four central teens (Drew, O'Connell, Oakes and Downey) all transcend their stereotypes, while Cunningham makes the most of the film's most cliched character: the nice-guy barman with a secret. Harris does the same with his hideously slimy gun/drug dealer in the film's most palpably intense sequence, which combines a barrage of clever on-screen details with a low soundtrack rumble to maximum effect.

But of course, this is Caine's tour-de-force, as he fully invests Harry with a tainted past and a powerfully emotional present. In his steely eyes, Harry becomes one of the most intriguing movie characters of the year--grizzled and shattered, and yet finding just enough adrenaline to get through whatever he has to do next. And perhaps the most extraordinary thing about this earthy, over-violent thriller is that it has an intense sadness to it that keeps us emotionally involved right through to the end.



Harry Brown

Facts and Figures

Genre: Thriller

Run time: 103 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 11th November 2009

Box Office USA: $1.8M

Budget: $7.3M

Distributed by: Samuel Goldwyn Films

Production compaines: Marv Films, HanWay Films, UK Film Council

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 64%
Fresh: 78 Rotten: 43

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Keith Bell, Kris Thykier,

Starring: as Harry Brown, as D.I. Alice Frampton, as S.I. Childs, Lee Oakes as Dean Saunders, as Sid Rourke, as Stretch, as D.S. Terry Hicock, as Leonard Attwell, Ben Drew as Noel Winters, as Marky, Jamie Downey as Carl, Liz Daniels as Kath Brown

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