Harry Brown Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.