Harry Brown (18)
Dir. Daniel Barber
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
ONE WORD SUMMATION: granturino-uk
If you can’t beat em – shoot em! That’s the motto of vengeful pensioner Harry Brown (an excellent Sir Michael Caine), a man driven to take drastic vigilante action when his friend is brutally murdered by a gang of feral youths.
Harry Brown is a powerful, violent and deeply shocking film - a very poignant commentary on ‘broken Britain’ where kids kill for fun and drug dealers rule lawless council estates. There has been much media discussion about the Daily Mail pleasing ‘decent man fights back against nasty wrong-un drugged up teens’ and have to admit that it certainly strikes a chord. I saw this in Luton where during the screening a fight broke out amongst the viewers – it was life imitating art in the scariest possible way.
Harry is an uncomplicated man, his life consists of simple pleasures such as playing chess with his best mate Leonard (David ‘Filch from Harry Potter’ Bradley). Harry’s wife is dying though and when he loses first her and then Leonard, he’s left with nothing but a itch to seek justice for his friend’s death.
The police don’t come across well here, first there’s the compassionate but ultimately useless DCI Frampton (Emily Mortimer). She works with the young ambitious Hickcock (Charlie Creed-Miles) whose beat is the hell hole estate Harry Brown shares with scum of the earth gangs, one of which killed Leonard. Harry however has an inner steel, and thanks to his marine training he sets about taking the law into his own hands.
"My name is... Harry Brown"
Director Daniel Barber delivers a beautifully crafted film - the crunching violence hits hard but isn’t dwelt on and is fairly integral to the plot. Caine in the lead role is fantastic, mixing a believable amount of angst, hopelessness and grit into what could become a cult classic character to rank up there with Jack Carter. The other stand out performance is from Ben Drew who follows up his similar role in Adulthood by embodying the vilest young scumbag on the block ‘Noel’ and is becoming the ‘go to guy’ for these ne’er-do-well types.
Harry Brown is without doubt the scariest film I’ve seen this year, it’s just too plausible and all the more terrifying for that. If you have the stomach for violent scenes and want a haunting view of society unravelling from both ends, pay a visit to Mr Harry Brown.
Darkmatters final rating of: ööööööööö (9 – viva la marine pensioners!)
Darkmatters quick reference guide:
Action 9 (nicely done even if hard to watch)
Style 8 (excellently grim visuals)
Babes 7 (Klariza Clayton is a hottie)
Comedy 6 (not much fun this - there is some)
Horror 8 (strong grimness in parts)
Spiritual Enlightenment 6 (will make you pray for our nation...)