Harry Brown (2009)

Who remembers the character, Paul Kersey, wonderfully played by Charles Bronson in the Deathwish movies from the 1970s?  Quiet man, turned

vigilante   after his limits have been pushed.  You know the story, we have to witness all the atrocities, wrong doings and darn right evil acts, so when the hero of the story finally flips you gain that wonderful sense of redemption, evening up the score.

Michael Caine is our hero in this story.  A retired army officer, who is living out his days, in a packed London concrete vertical village (council estate flats!), who goes about his daily routine without too much fuss.   The local criminal element however are slowly taking over, intimidating the residents, hassling them, mugging and generally threatening .

Mr Caine tolerates, nay, turns his eye away from this, feeling too old to actually do anything about it.   After his wife dies in hospital his best friend confides him that the local gang is harassing him so he has taken to carrying an old bayonet from his army days for self protection.  However it goes wrong on a confrontation and his friend is murdered.

The police come (Emily Mortimer) to investigate but are powerless, to actually do anything since little evidence has been found and it could be argued self-defense.   Of course this was going to be the case, because if it wasn’t then this revenge movie was going to fall short very quickly.

Caine decides enough is enough and decides to be jury, judge and executioner.

He plays this role very real.  An old man, knowing he’s past his prime, getting to grips with his violent past he had left behind when he killed for Queen and country.   His body isn’t as fast or as agile as once was.

There is a wonderful scene where he goes to buy an underground gun from a drug dealer, who himself is off his head and toying with a young girl, played excellently by Sean Harris.   Caine is disgusted he has to see this injustice and wad through this cesspool to get the tools he needs to right his world.  Naturally he can’t let this go after obtaining his desires.  Plays out great.

There are enough twists and turns to make it interesting and give the main character room to move without bumping into too many morality fences.   

How the police are portrayed in this movie is what lets this otherwise great thriller down.  There is no way they would be that powerless and stupid.   Reminds of that scene in So I Married an Axe Murderer when Alan Arkin asks he should yell as the police chief as that is the way it is done in the movies “yeah, but easy on the ethic slurs next time”.    The police in Harry Brown, is a cliched modern day Key Stone cop view.  Shame.

On the whole, a good effort Deathwish clone of a movie and well worth the 1hr 40minutes investment. 

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Viewing Date
Tuesday, 8th September 2015

Rating
6/10

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