Harry Brown

15 Jul

Title: Harry Brown
Year: 2010
Director: Daniel Barber
Writer: Gary Young
Starring: Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, Ben Drew, Charlie Creed-Miles, David Bradley, Jack O’Connell, Liam Cunningham
MPAA Rating: R, strong violence and language throughout, drug use and sexual content
Runtime: 103 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating: 7.5
Rotten Tomatoes: 66%

Harry Brown is a super violent film, and I personally like that, but some people may not, and even if you’re part of the latter group I still recommend watching this one because in between all the violence there is an emotional story being told, and being told rather well, too, thanks to a terrific performance by Michael Caine, and seriously, he is the one that makes the movie quite good, he’s an amazing actor and with his perfectly nuanced craft he just continues to keep giving us solid performances, and you can count his turn as the titular character in this one as another one for the list.

This is a pretty solid revenge thriller that will undeniable get comparisons to Gran Torino, and while this one isn’t as great a film as that one it still does rely on an older male performer, and no, Mr. Caine really isn’t as good as Clint Eastwood was but still, he, just like Mr. Eastwood, carries the film brilliantly, by not only selling the revenge, but selling the quiet emotions behind said revenge, and that’s really what it’s all about. Caine’s character is a man who lives, with his dying wife, in a London neighborhood ran by gangs and thugs who sell drugs there without hesitating and run the place as their own kingdom.

He was a British marine, and just like with Clint Eastwood’s character in Gran Torino he has long ago locked up who he was before, or had hidden his past until he is informed by a female police inspector, played by Emily Mortimer, that his best friend who also lived in the neighborhood has been killed by the thugs that run the streets. You know how the rest of the film goes, and yes, it’s predictable but Caine plays Harry Brown with exquisite experience and skill, he plays him as a man who has lived and seen stuff, he connects with the audience and that is ultimately what makes this work, and there’s a scene in which a gun is described line-by-line the same way it is described in Dr. No, a nod I enjoyed in silence while I watched this.

This is a good film, it keeps you engaged, it’s interesting, the violence is horrific, but it drives the point home, it gives, along with Caine’s performance, a great deal of realism to a film that acts as a good vigilante thriller that relies on human emotion more than it does on elaborate stunts and computers, something that’s rare and quite welcomed in today’s film industry.

Grade: B-

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