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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.