Sunday, 19 September 2010

Film Review: HARRY BROWN (2009)

Director: Daniel Barber
Running time: 99 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

UK release date: 11th November 2009

Watched on DVD Sunday 19th September 2010.


I have always been a fan of the work of Michael Caine and I unfortunately missed this one when it came out. This film described has as many things, ‘Death Wish for geriatrics’ was one of my favourites. What it is is a revenge thriller with some vigilantaeism thrown in for good measure. But more of that later, here’s a short synopsis first.

Harry Brown is an ex marine; he lives on a high-rise estate in London. His wife has recently died and he has just one friend, Leonard, left on the estate. There is a lot of trouble with teenagers using drugs and committing crimes around the place and the police seem incapable of doing anything about it. Eventually Leonard decides he has had enough and confronts some of the youths. Unfortunately this does not go well and he ends up being killed. The police, in the guise of D.I. Alice Frampton and D.S. Terry Hicock call on Harry to break the news. The investigation gets bogged down in red tape and Harry decides it’s time to take action. Using his military training, he begins to take revenge on those who murdered his friend.

Now, I have heard that the level of violence depicted in this film is too high. To me it’s about right. The level of violence used by Harry Brown is entirely justifiable in my opinion. If anything, the character is very restrained compared to the low-life’s he’s up against. But I digress, great performances all round, particularly from Michael Caine as Harry Brown, I thought he was outstanding. Honourable mentions must also go to; Emily Mortimer as D.I. Alice Frampton, Charlie Creed-Miles as D.S. Terry Hicock and David Bradley as Leonard Attwell.

I found this film very engrossing; I felt for Harry’s character and could sense the frustration of Alice. The bad guys were very intimidating as well which added to the tension. A very well made film with some great performances, if slightly too violent for some. Over all, recommended.

My score: 8.2/10

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