Monday, 21 February 2011

Harry Brown


Michael Caine is superb in Harry Brown, cast in the title role as an elderly ex-Marine who lives on a grim urban estate where vicious thugs terrorise young and old alike. When Harry’s mate, who has been targeted by the bad guys, is murdered, Harry decides that something must be done.

It would be a mistake, I think, to see this film as a modern version of the Charles Bronson movie of the 70s, Death Wish. Both are about vigilantes, but Harry Brown is a superior piece of work, cleverly written and filmed and brilliantly acted.

Caine has, surely, seldom been better, and the pathos he brings to the role of Harry is memorable. The tensions within the police force are cleverly drawn, with Emily Mortimer good as a sensitive DI who suspects Harry of going to war against those responsible for the death of his friend.

This is a dark and violent film, which won’t appeal to everyone. Some might say it glorifies vigilantism, but I don’t think that is either the intention or the effect. It’s a much more personal type of film, more about the character of the man than what he actually does. And there’s quite a bit of irony in the script, too. A very good movie, in my opinion.

10 comments:

Bill Crider said...

I agree with you 100%. Very good film, and Caine's super.

Margot Kinberg said...

Martin - As always, thanks for this review. I happen to like Michael Caine very much, so I have to say I'm not surprised he did a good job in this role. Glad you enjoyed it.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I am glad to have read this. I didn't see it when I read a bad review or two. Now I will.

Deb said...

Although I haven't seen "Harry Brown," your plot synopsis reminds me somewhat of the Clint Eastwood movie from a few years ago called "Gran Torino," where Eastwood played a retired auto worker who confronted gangs and criminals in his neighborhood. Perhaps this is a new wave: Geezer vigilantes!

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks for these comments - Deb, I must look out for Gran Torino!

Janet O'Kane said...

Just for once, Martin, I've seen (and reviewed on my blog) a movie before you! I agree with your approval of Harry Brown. Although it didn't make easy viewing, especially the bit where he goes to the drug dealer to buy the gun, it was far better than we'd allowed ourselves to hope. And it's British-made for a change.

aguja said...

The consensus is agreement and I go with it. Michael Caine lends himself to these roles and puts in a superb preformance as Harry Brown.

Martin Edwards said...

Jolly good review too, Janet - and I finally got round to adding your blog to the blogroll.

Janet O'Kane said...

Thanks, Martin. Remind me to buy you a drink at CrimeFest!

Alistair Macfarlane said...

Amazing film. Wish more were like this.