Harry Brown - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Harry Brown Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ November 16, 2009
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.
Super Reviewer
November 30, 2009
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.
Super Reviewer
½ November 26, 2012
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.
Super Reviewer
½ September 29, 2010
The premise to this film is as simple as they get. Michael Caine's ex-marine Harry Brown lives in a slum somewhere in London. He's a widower with just one mate, played by David Bradley, who he plays chess with in a local bar, place that is one of the key locations in the story. After Harry's friend is killed, Harry goes on revenge on the thugs of the neighborhood who are the prime suspects. On the case are also police team played by Emily Mortimer and Charlie Creed-Miles.

I liked the way the events unfolded, there's never a dull moment. And luckily there's none of the soap opera or feminism we've come to expect whenever there's a female cop on the block. All the characters are real people, but we get to use our imagination instead of being driven to boredom by their back-stories and that's good.

Some of the scenes are very explicit and wild,(especially when Harry needs a gun to "shoot some pigeons"), and all the time the director Daniel Barber is skillfully on the edge of emotional manipulation and shock for sake of shocking, but never actually crossing the line. The film is not trying to be gritty, it just is.

This might do well on a revisit as well, there are some nice twists in the film that is a nice example of the "show, don't tell" rule. And finally, this is indeed the Michael Caine show, I can't imagine any other veteran actor of the day being able to pull of a stunt like this more convincingly (what I credited the director for is equally credited to Caine). So I liked it. Nice pace, ending too so that makes for recommended viewing. Not exactly the feel good movie of the year, but with this subject matter there is no way it could be,. If your in the mood for a good revenge thriller Harry Brown is worth checking out.
Super Reviewer
½ December 3, 2009
Disappointing, considering the praise heaped upon it, particularly by the British film press. It's certainly a brave choice of project for Michael Caine, which left me wishing I'd enjoyed it rather more than I did, but it didn't really work for me. Given the grimness of the subject matter, I'm ashamed to admit that I did catch myself sniggering involuntarily once or twice, but only because Harry Brown subscribes to that specious and peculiarly British rule of filmmaking logic whereby the plausibility of events is assumed to be directly proportional to the grittiness of their depiction. My abiding emotion, however, was one of frustration - at the sight of decent actors like Caine and Liam Cunningham vainly struggling to breathe some life into their woefully underwritten characters. Emily Mortimer probably fares the worst as the new broom in a jaundiced inner city police department, who promises strength, integrity and perspicacity and somehow ends up as a vapid nonentity. Also irritating is the fact that, besides the platitudinous and not particularly helpful statement - however true - that the police and courts are ineffectual when dealing with antisocial behaviour and gang related crime, the film doesn't really have anything important to say about its subject and, therefore, comes across as a cynical, opportunistic piece of entertainment.
Super Reviewer
March 22, 2010
02/01/2012 (PS3, NETFLIX)
Super Reviewer
½ August 27, 2011
Essentially the British counterpart to Gran Torino and just as good. Michael Caine makes for the greatest unsuspecting deadly force. The build-up of his character is amazing; as is the rage buried deep inside him. I love the way this looks and feels; it doesn't look like a cheap indie action movie with a bunch of amateur angles and hand held shots to create a fake sense of intensity. This was all about isolated wideshots and amazing low lit settings. I'd say it's a lot more creepy and disturbing than Gran Torino because it involves a larger problem than just a neighborhood; this really reaches for the whole urban youth gang violence. So many classic one-liners and brutally violent scenes are scattered throughout and they're done in such a classy way. The only negative aspect of this movie is the cgi blood; it totally takes you out of the movie at times. However, this is such a well put together story with great pacing. Not to mention the fact that you have Micheal Caine stocking the streets as the ultimate old man vigilante. I liked that his character was so good natured and harmless at first because you can see how much it takes for a completely normal person to snap.
Super Reviewer
June 27, 2011
Really strong performances. The end falls flat despite the last scene which doesn't really seem realistic anyway.
Super Reviewer
May 15, 2011
Excellent Film. Harry Brown has had enough. Moral of this story is don't mess with senior citzens. Harry has seen his friends harrased and the Neighborhood he lives in turn to trash because of the youth and gangs who have no respect for anybody. Pretty much a true life film of whats happening in England and the United States today. But Harry starts to set things right. Being ex militrary he is going to see to the saftey of thise around him. Its kind of a modern day Charles Bronson in Death Wish. Still its worth every bit of 5 stars.
Super Reviewer
½ March 16, 2011
Reaffirms that Michael Caine is one of the most underrated bad-asses of his generation. A gripping thriller indeed.
Super Reviewer
February 3, 2011
A disappointing, over-the-top "Death Wish"-esque vehicle concerning a codger (Michael Caine) who loses his wife and best friend in a short period of time (the latter murdered by no-good teenagers), and elects to off those responsible as he sees fit. It is a mystery to me as to why Michael Caine decided to star in this pile of steaming crap - he is too good of an actor to be wasting his talent here. The film's nihilistic nature never for a second feels or looks realistic, and the melodrama that occurs in the last 1/3 of the movie is downright laughable. It tries to adopt the social commentary that "Gran Torino" skillfully implemented, but it fails miserably seeing the ridiculous violence that takes place in its final 25 minutes makes one frustratingly ponder if director Daniel Barber was really, seriously trying to make a statement on the degrading state humanity is in. When a film takes such a violent leap from careful character study to insane action located in an apocalyptic wasteland, you are bound to lose some of your viewers. Not only that, this movie features an ending that tries to fool its audience into thinking it is poetic (would Harry really be happy with the way the police handled matters in the end? The film wants you to think so). I can't help but be a little disgusted by this movie.
Super Reviewer
½ January 29, 2011
a really well crafted film disguised as a common revenge tale. this film is as much about justice as it is about vengeance. outside of caine the cast is fairly inconsequential, and the script writing is decent at best, but caine is excellent as usual and the film carries a very strong visual appeal. excellent movie.
Super Reviewer
September 4, 2010
Harry Brown is a pulse pounding revenge thriller. A nonstop thrill ride from the get go, the film is raw and nasty. The violence is unsparring. The thrills demand that you keep your face glued to the tv. Michael Caine delivers a great performance as Harry Brown, a widower who's friend got brutally murdered by a gang of thugs, and now he's out for revenge. The film is very gripping and tough to watch, but you are thrilled nonetheless. Harry Brown is a well acted, well directed and well paced revenge film in the same style as Gran Torino. Michael Caine always delivers in his roles, and gives yet another great performance here. Harry Brown will satisfy any thriller fan who wants a good revenge film to watch. As far, as the genre is concerned, this film is definitely an entertain new film in the revenge genre. Michael Caine is a terrific actor, and he proves it once again with this good film. Harry Brown has all the trappings of a good revenge film, it's a great film, but it's far from being excellent. There's been better revenge films out there and revenge films always seem to follow the same type of formula. But this time around the actor is Michael Caine, and he does deliver a good brand of vigilante justice. Harry Brown may follow the same formula of other films of the genre, but it still manages to entertain and thrill the viewer. The film has good amounts of drams, action and thrills to be had. Michael Caine is in top form here. I think that he should be in more staring roles, as he really elevated the simplistic plot to something great. If the film would've had a different actor in the part of Harry Brown, I think that the film would have been less thrilling, but Caine was the perfect choice for this role, and even though Harry Brown may not be that original of a film, it still has plenty of good things going for it.
Super Reviewer
May 4, 2010
The movie reviewers keep saying about this UK thriller film is the UK's answer to Gran Torino, with its disgruntled Old Age Pensioner putting the smackdown on the smackheads pulling the turf Harry Brown called home for years. It also borders, alarmingly at points, on a fascist's fantasy, Michael Caine's Harry shooting, barb-wiring and torturing his hoodie prey without much in the way of remorse and with much in the way of graphic close-up.
In lesser hands, frankly, it could have played like a tooled-up realisation of talkback-radio vitriol. But director Daniel Barber's economic direction - in, astonishingly, his first feature - gives his revenge flick a distinct identity of its own. From a truly scary, immediate and immersion pre-credits sequence, through a series of unbearably tense scenes (the standout being Caine's visit to a drug dealer's den) and to a wonderfully Western climax, Barber takes his time, giving Harry room to breathe.
But it is a powerful and surprisingly accessible movie that's brave enough to ask uneasy questions amid its explosive set-pieces and witty one-liners. Not to mention one that reconfirms Caine as the unparalleled king of cool. His transformation from chess-playing old codger to gun-toting Dirty Harry is a masterclass in slow-build.
Super Reviewer
½ September 7, 2010
Great movie. A little slow at the beginning, but then it really takes off after that. Michael Caine is such a fine actor!
Super Reviewer
½ July 18, 2010
Think "Gran Torino", but with Michael Caine instead of Eastwood, and the dark side of England instead of the American suburbs. Because that's pretty much what this movie is: a British copy of said story. It might also explain why I had heard so little about it. Plagiarism or not, this is nevertheless a powerful drama. Michael Caine is as good as ever, and you feel a lot of sympathy for his character; sharing in his anger and frustrations. Much like in Gran Torino, a lot of scenes leaves you shaken by its raw violence, and you can't help but feel profoundly affected. It doesn't have that little extra that Torino does, but it involved me just as much as a viewer. Pretty good ending as well, which felt agreeable and justified.
Super Reviewer
½ June 10, 2010
"As far as I'm concerned, Harry Brown's doing us a favor."

Michael Caine may be an old codger now, but he can still do more than fetch Bruce Wayne's tea. In Harry Brown, he takes justice into his own hands, after his sole remaining friend is killed by the dangerous teenagers who terrorize his neighborhood.

This is your standard vigilante flick, not unlike The Brave One or countless other movies where people affected by violence and disillusioned with a police force that seemingly cannot help them, get themselves a gun and start blowing hoodlums' brains out. Caine is solid as the elderly ex-Royal Marine who misses his wife and despairs at the state of his community, and Emily Mortimer is also good as a police inspector who suspects who's really behind the string of deaths among the undesirables in the area.

Even though Harry Brown really doesn't do much new, it's still a pretty entertaining movie. The antagonists are sufficiently evil that you feel like they're essentially getting what they deserve, and seeing an old guy (emphysema, and all) successfully take on the young punks is satisfying.
Super Reviewer
February 6, 2010
A razor-sharp, stylish, hard-boiled and riveting action-packed thriller. A dark, intense and superbly crafted film. It's brilliant, a film that truly matters. It's cool as hell. A classic that packs serious heat. It's Gran Torino meets Death Wish. A vintage revenge tale with the right amount of substance and flavor. It's magnificent, visceral and extremely powerful. A thrilling, compelling and very exciting movie with the right amount of action and drama. It's fearless, heart-pounding, tense and exhilarating all the way through. Michael Caine gives a tour de force performance, he delivers the perfect mixture of emotion and intensity. An emotionally charged, electric, thrilling and truly unforgettable performance. It's definitely one of the best performances of his career. It's explosive, shocking and wickedly entertaining film set in a harsh urban reality which very few films seem to capture the essence of. A must-see and remarkable film debut by Director, Daniel Barber.
Super Reviewer
September 1, 2010
Movies are filled with people who are pushed over the edge. They've been through one hell or another and finally, through some event beyond their control they ultimately snap. The good guy ends up doing bad things and the audience loves every minute of it. It can be done well, such as with The Outlaw Josey Wales or Death Wish. It can be done poorly as in *gulp* I Spit On Your Grave. Once again, another name goes on the list of movie characters that aren't going to take anymore shit.

Harry Brown stars Michael Caine as the title character who lives in a crime infested estate in London. Crime dictates life. It is something to be avoided in the neighborhood because when it gets right in your face it's never a pretty sight. Harry has just lost his wife to illness and his best friend (David Bradley) is murdered by thugs in a pedestrian walkway. The old adage rises: never cross a man who has nothing to lose. Harry begins to pick off the perpetrators in a professional, yet sadistic matter that he learned as a Royal Marine in Ireland. Inspector Frampton (Emily Mortimer) is the on Harry's trail, yet the support she gets is nil because, let's face it, Harry's an old man.

When you look at the basic plot of Harry Brown the first thing that will pop in your head is Death Wish 3. On the surface it is basically the same plot of a guy whose friend is killed by thugs and said guy does what he does best in eliminate the scum in the tenement. When you dig deeper than the trailers and the initial presumptions of the film the differences between the two become abundantly clear. Death Wish 3 is a comic book film where Charles Bronson is a perfect shot, a perfect killing machine with over the top villains and over the top weapons. Bronson, an aging man moves like a man in his thirties (not this man, but I digress). Harry Brown is a grittier film where our protagonist is flawed. Age has caught up with him and his ailments are his weaknesses. He's not perfect, but experience has allowed him to cruise out of a situation as opposed to being perfect all the time unless it helps forward the script. The thugs are kids who act like wild west gunman and the cops are just there except for Mortimer's character who is a righteous entity throughout the film.

Michael Caine delivers a great performance. Early in the film he exhibits his pain over the two deaths he has to deal with and the contemplation over what to do next. He never planned on any of this and shows what the character would be feeling at any given moment , including the cold, calculating bastion of vengeance as the film carries on. Yes, Caine is a bit old for a film of this sort, but he pulls it off perfectly because he doesn't try to be that vengeful gun slinger on earth. Just as Clint Eastwood did in Gran Torino, Caine understands that a man of his age has to know his limitation and shows them on screen.

I have been looking forward to seeing Harry Brown ever since seeing the initial trailers months ago, but never made it to theater because a foreign film never plays around here. Hell, The Departed on played here for a week and it was an Oscar winner. Harry Brown delivers as a film without being unrealistic and too preachy. A good action piece that actually features great acting and a plot that has been used before buy told from a point of view that is fresh on the screen.
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