Harry Brown DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 7.5
Video 8.0
Audio 7.0
Special Features   0.0
Total 7.5
Distributor: Icon
Classification: MA15+
Minutes: 102 minutes
Reviewer: Hannah Lee

7.5


Harry Brown

When the words ‘Michael Caine is Harry Brown’ appear at the start of the revenge-driven thriller Harry Brown, they mean more than merely stating an obvious casting decision that we will see in the film. The sentence is a testament to Michael Caine’s ability to completely immerse himself in a character and portray the subtlety and sense of cool attached to his age and experience in acting. As a result, Harry Brown is a film that doesn’t merely rely on cheap thrills, but rather, takes drama back to its roots of simply good storytelling and effective execution in its direction, production and acting ensemble.

Living in a dangerous London housing estate, ridden with inexplicably violent and menacing gangs, Harry Brown is a pensioner who is clinging dearly to his dying wife and a good friend, Leonard (David Bradley). While Harry had always been an onlooker of the violence that occurs just outside his window, things change dramatically when Inspector Frampton (Emily Mortimer) shows up at his door to tell him that Leonard died after being physically assaulted by the very boys hanging around his neighborhood. With no effective help from the police, Harry decides to take the law into his own hands and goes after the very suspects who were aligned to the crime, engaging in a much bigger war against drugs, senseless violence and sexual abuse that is as extreme and serious as what he may have seen as a British marine, serving in Ireland when he was much younger.

The dark and gritty nature of the story, not only digs into issues and ideas of violence and revenge that are confronting and problematic, but is also expressed through a variety of visually stylistic methods that are original and highly effective. With camera phone recordings of the violence that goes on in Harry’s neighborhood, the deeply disturbing randomness of the acts and the drug fuelled excitement that comes with it are captured in the jolting, unstable movement of these hand held devices. Even as aspects of Harry’s character are pieced together through minute details and with Caine’s own consistent and engaging acting, it is clear that Harry Brown doesn’t spoon-feed you the story or force you to see things in one particular perspective. It forces you to question and consider the position each of the characters are in, as the far-reaching consequences of Harry’s actions impact those around him and his own life in different and meaningful ways.

With music and sound effects that heighten the sense of violence and immediacy of action, Harry Brown utilizes filmic techniques to powerful ends. Relying on good acting and original visual direction to tell a good story, Harry Brown may feel a little slower than some of the thrillers we’re used to, but it is definitely a film of greater complexity and dramatic depth. If that’s not convincing enough, watch it to see Caine prove vigilante heroes don’t have to be young with snappy one liners, but that pensioners can also be pretty damn hardcore too.



 






 
 



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