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Harry Brown (2009)



Average Rating: 6/10
Reviews Counted: 121
Fresh: 78 | Rotten: 43

Its lurid violence may put off some viewers, but Harry Brown is a vigilante thriller that carries an emotional as well as a physical punch, thanks to a gripping performance from Michael Caine in the title role.


Average Rating: 5.8/10
Critic Reviews: 34
Fresh: 19 | Rotten: 15

Its lurid violence may put off some viewers, but Harry Brown is a vigilante thriller that carries an emotional as well as a physical punch, thanks to a gripping performance from Michael Caine in the title role.



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Movie Info

Academy Award nominee Daniel Barber (The Tonto Woman) makes his feature directorial debut with this gritty critique on contemporary British society starring Michael Caine as an elderly shut-in who's spurred to action by a senseless act of violence. Harry Brown (Caine) resides in a desolate public-housing apartment block as his sickly wife lies dying in a local hospital. He spends most of his days in solitude, only getting out to play the occasional game of chess at a nearby pub with his best


Drama, Art House & International, Mystery & Suspense

Gary Young

Aug 31, 2010


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All Critics (123) | Top Critics (34) | Fresh (78) | Rotten (43) | DVD (9)

Caine, that master of gentle sadness, lets us know Harry immediately as a good man trying to get by -- and trying to understand what seems like madness.

July 1, 2010 Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Comment (1)
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

After a long run of baroquely plotted crime dramas like Layer Cake and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, it's a little depressing to come across a vigilante drama whose sole twist is its protagonist's advanced age.

June 10, 2010 Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Comment (1)
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's simply the tale of a man who decides to do something and sticks to his guns, so to speak. That the man is played by Michael Caine is what makes it worthwhile.

May 27, 2010 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Comments (3)
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

On one side, it's all compellingly believable; on the other, it's simply incredible. We do our best to straddle the rift but, in the end, the gulf proves too wide, the contrast too great, and a tumbling movie takes us down with it.

May 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Comment (1)
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film ranks right up there with Sleuth, Get Carter and Mona Lisa as being amongst Caineâ(TM)s toughest and best performances.

May 20, 2010 Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Comment (1)
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In Gran Torino, Eastwood took on the moral issues that screenwriter Gary Young and first-time director Daniel Barber studiously avoid. It's the difference between riveting and repellent.

May 14, 2010 Full Review Source: Rolling Stone | Comment (1)
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

By the end, it's turned from a geriatric Death Wish into a one-dimensional Taxi Driver...

September 4, 2010 Full Review Source: | Comment (1)

"[Caine] elevates this grim vigilante-fest from pretty darn good to essential viewing."

August 15, 2010 Full Review Source: | Comment (1)

A lot to digest stylistically and narratively, but Harry Brown is developed in an ever-increasing, shock-inducing manner and is undeniably successful.

August 13, 2010 Full Review Source:

Although Caine lives up to expectations in this nicely crafted (though violent) film, the oversimplified story he's given to work with keeps it from the top of Caine's impressive filmography.

August 11, 2010 Full Review Source: San Diego Union-Tribune | Comment (1)
San Diego Union-Tribune

Harry Brown is a more meditative take on garden variety exploitation, but its attraction lies in the same guilty pleasure centers of the brain that exult in a kind of movie violence that is the very opposite of senseless.

July 18, 2010 Full Review Source: DCist | Comment (1)

A very good film -- albeit very violent and bloody -- and contains yet another splendid Michael Caine performance. I'm not complaining too much based on those grounds alone.

July 1, 2010 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC) | Comment (1)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Maybe Michael Caine just wanted to make his "death wish" before kickin' his "bucket list." Say what you wanna say, but I'd rather watch old-timers bust gums than tandem parachute with Morgan Freeman while John Mayer plays softly in the background.

June 18, 2010 Full Review Source: | Comment (1)

In the hands of a lesser actor, this would feel just as clichéd as it sounds. But Caine brings his smarts as well as his baggage to the character, making him more than another mad-as-hell guy with a gun.

June 17, 2010 Full Review Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Comments (2)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A revenge fantasy that recalls the Charles Bronson Death Wish series and Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino, Daniel ... would be unremarkable if not for the grave, lowered gaze of Michael Caine and the relentless grittiness of its cinematography.

June 16, 2010 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | Comments (2)
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Forget those boring, ludicrously overpriced, would-be summer blockbusters and go see the art of vigilante-movie-making done to a fare-thee-well. Caine's Harry makes bad-boy Russell Crowe's Robin Hood look like a sissy.

June 11, 2010 Full Review Source: Boston Herald | Comment (1)
Boston Herald

This latest in the slumming mini-genre offers a couple of new wrinkles: Michael Caine and self-righteous, soul-satisfying vigilante justice.

June 9, 2010 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix | Comments (2)
Boston Phoenix

Full disclosure: I'd happily rewatch even my neighbor's vacation video from Dollywood if Caine were in it. And here, brooding, world-weary and emphysemic, he is, of course, magnificent.

June 4, 2010 Full Review Source: Florida Times-Union | Comment (1)
Florida Times-Union

What could have been a smart urban drama turns into a ludicrous revenge-thriller.

June 3, 2010 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City | Comment (1)
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

[A] poignantly observed portrait of the bitter loneliness of old age -- director Daniel Barber has a keen eye for making the isolation sneak up on you and sting...

May 28, 2010 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher | Comment (1)
Flick Filosopher

The film is dark, beautifully half-lit and as controlled as it needs to be so Caine can work his way deeper into the character. His performance is astonishing: Harry is stooped, no longer physically strong, but he has immense reserves.

May 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald | Comment (1)
Sydney Morning Herald

Stylishly filmed in a grimy palette of putrescent green and muddy brown, the movie seems at times almost to revel in the nastiness it depicts.

May 21, 2010 Full Review Source: The Age (Australia) | Comment (1)
The Age (Australia)

This is tabloid propaganda and an irresponsibly negative stereotype to attach to the youngest and poorest section of society.

May 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Trespass | Comments (4)

Audience Reviews for Harry Brown

April 11, 2013
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

A bitter and disenchanting look at urban violence in modern England. An old man and former Marine is facing more and more deaths and crime in his neighborhood until he finally refuses to ignore it any longer. It is Michael Caine's face and outstanding acting that carries the film through the slower passages as his character gets more and more involved into the bloody events. Most viewers will catch themselves cheering for revenge, which is quite interesting because the film certainly does not try to praise vigilante tendencies. It is uncertain why the film feels the need to add a riot towards the end, but the finale is exciting nonetheless. A pretty gloomy and bloody film, but one that raises interesting questions without pretending to know the answers.
April 4, 2013

Super Reviewer

Depressingly realistic film about a british OAP who finally has enough and decides it's time to clean up his council estate. Death Wish meets cocoon.
January 13, 2013

Super Reviewer

An ex-Marine becomes a vigilante in a crime-ridden estate.
Michael Caine is a vulnerable badass and gives a strong performance in the lead role of this morose action film. But it is unfortunate that he is the sole highlight of this film.
Emily Mortimer is about as believable as a cop as Charlton Heston was believable as a Mexican. There is not an ounce of toughness to her character, and her attempts at the "wise detective" trope fall flat. What is more, the story packs no surprises except for the improbable ones, and even these feel like a writer over-manipulating his plot.
Overall, I like Michael Caine, but I can't like this film.
November 26, 2012
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Movies Like Harry Brown

    1. D.I. Frampton: It's not Northern Ireland Harry.
    2. Harry Brown: No it's not. Those people were fighting for something; for a cause. To them out there, this is just entertainment.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
    1. Harry Brown: I don't reckon you've got long. Seen that before. Gut wound. The slug's probably torn right through your liver. Mate of mine in Ulster got caught in sniper fire. Bullet blew his inside out. He screamed for a good 10 minutes. We couldn't send a medic in, the section was too hot. So we all took cover... and watched him die. I've never told that... to anyone... you should've called an ambulance... for the girl...
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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