Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Directed by Daniel Barber.

Harry Brown (Michael Caine), an ex-Marine, recently lost his wife to cancer and now lives alone in an apartment complex. His apartment overlooks a pathway that leads to tunnel where local thugs gather. Those thugs are responsible for murdering Harry’s good friend, Leonard Atwell (David Bradley), whom he had often played chess with. Two police detectives, Alice (Emily Mortimer) and Terry (Charlie Creed-Miles), show up to investigate the murder by questioning Harry as well as some of the local thugs, but they don’t end up with any leads. Harry essentially focuses on his 2nd stage of grief: anger. Soon enough, he takes justice into his own hands by exacting revenge on the group of delinquent thugs for murdering Leonard. Watching Harry hunt down those thugs and shoot ‘em up one by one wouldn’t be such a guilty pleasure if it weren’t for Michael Caine’s terrific performance that’s reminiscent of his portrayal of Jack Carter in Get Carter. Harry has been through a lot throughout his life, including his wartime experiences, which have become a heavy burden for him, so his rage as a vigilante may not be legal or moral, but at least it makes sense given his mental state. Director Daniel Barber’s stylish lighting, colors and editing along with the musical score add to the overall grim and foreboding atmosphere. The plot does take a while to get going because screenwriter Gary Young includes a lengthy first act that finds Harry wallowing in his sorrow---that is, until he fearlessly kills his very first thug. From that point on, you’ll find yourself at the edge of your seat and cheering Harry on as he continues his revenge killings. Expect to be disgusted and shaken up by the behavior and appearance of some of the thugs, one of home looks so disfigured by his drug addiction that he looks like Frankenstein’s monster. At a running time of 1 hour and 37 minutes, Harry Brown manages to be a suspenseful, grim and unflinchingly brutal revenge thriller anchored by Michael Caine’s brave and captivating performance.
Number of times I checked my watch: 2
Released by Samuel Goldywn Films.
Opens at the AMC/Loews Lincoln Square, AMC Empire 25 and Angelica Film Center.

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