Daniel Barber's HARRY BROWN
Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
In my book, Michael Caine can as an actor do no wrong — this vigilante movie is another example.
Caine plays a lonely pensioner trapped in a vice-ridden British tenement building that is physically and socially deteriorating due to out-in-the-open drugs and violence. The death of a close friend sends him over the edge. He reaches back into his military past to retrieve long lost skills and sets out on a one-man revenge plan. The police get wind of this and a cat and mouse game ensues. Meanwhile, corpses of bad guys start to pile up.
In addition to Caine’s brilliant acting, what sets this film apart is its unapologetic tone. We may want to cheer Harry on but we also see — as Caine skillfully demonstrates — that everyone in this film exists in a desperate situation. Harry is under no illusions about the morality of what he’s doing; he’s just trying to clean up his corner of a social cesspool the only way he knows. He takes no joy in what he’s doing but he doesn’t lie to himself either.
Movie review copyright (c) 2011 by Dennis D. McDonald