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.