Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Harry Brown

Cinema Monolith: 7/10 This film is part of the Cinema Monolith collection!Film Reel
IMDb: 7.2/10
The Arizona Republic: ***½ out of 5

Released in the UK on November 11, 2009 and in the US on April 30, 2010
Rated R
103 minutes

Directed by Daniel Barber

Written by Gary Young

Cast: Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, Charlie Creed Miles, David Bradley, Ben Drew, Sean Harris, Iain Glen, Jack O’Connell, Liam Cunningham, Joseph Gilgun, Marva Alexander, Liz Daniels

As most of you know, revenge and vengeance films will always rank high on my favorites list, and this angry little number was no exception. Michael Caine does a formidable job as a man tired of the disintegrating morality and crumbling neighborhood around him, who witnesses neighbors being harassed and assaulted by local delinquents on an everyday basis, and grows weary of it all. As the one-sheet poster states, every man has a breaking point…and this man has reached his.

Caine plays Harry Brown, a former Royal Marine now living a peaceful life of retirement in London, going through the daily motions at home and at the local pub, where he shares beers and games of chess with his long-time friend Len. The public housing complex where they reside is being terrorized by a gang of drug-dealing street punks, causing the residents to live in fear, and when Len is beaten and stabbed to death by these degenerates, Harry decides that enough is enough, and soon begins to dish out his own brand of pain management.

I’ve only seen a portion of the nearly two hundred films that Caine has appeared in over the last sixty years, but I’ve loved his work in every single one of them, and his turn here as Brown is worthy of inclusion on that list. It was refreshing to see him in this type of tough-guy role; the last time I can remember him playing a character this brutal was in the crime film Get Carter, back in 1971, and I must say, at age 76, he handled both the physical and intimidation requirements quite well, even though at times his character’s age did get the better of him.

And his moments of retribution were both tension-filled and exhilarating, and a few especially hostile instances—one involving a man in a car, the other a pair of dots from laser sights—were just plain cool. The film had a look and feel that reminded me of several gritty, similarly-themed crime thrillers of the 1970s, but for whatever reason, at times I felt like a lot of what was happening was perhaps a bit exaggerated. Could a band of violent jerks really run rampant like this, vandalizing and burglarizing and tormenting at will, without the intervention of the local police?

I still got a big kick out of it, though, and I’d say it’s definitely worth checking out, especially for Caine’s badass portrayal, and the satisfaction of seeing vigilante justice served in a gratifying way. But along with what I mentioned above, be equally prepared for the film’s depressing tone: London is depicted as dangerous and dreary and disillusioned, and the representation of the bored, drug-addled, violent youth of today made me aggravated enough to seek some vengeance of my own.  (7/10)

6 comments on “Harry Brown

  1. This had some good word of mouth on it before finally turning up at an art house theater here at home when it first came out so of course I went to see it at the theater. Was very refreshing to see the Caine of Old. Was an eye opener for my sons who hadn’t seen his violent side from the 70’s as of yet. Now they have and love flicks like Get Carter. I like this film and Bronson fan that I am consider it an art house version of Death Wish 3 with the violence less cartoonish and in your face.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Todd B

      I can’t remember if it was word of mouth or the trailer that got me interested in seeing this, but either way, it worked. And I agree, it was less ‘out there’ than Death Wish 3, and as an Eastwood fan, I can add that it was less cartoonish than The Dead Pool as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great pic and review Todd. Kind of Michael’s Gran Torino too. Different in their conviction but famous OAP actor standing up for themselves. But yeah this is a pure Laaaadaaaan Death Wish. I bet Director Michael Winner would of been onboard this revenge smasher if he’d been still alive.

    There’s still a lot of these hooded chavs that roam around in gangs in neighbourhoods. Real cess-pit scum but of course they are exaggerated here. Seeing Harry as an aged Carter was a joy to watch. I’m a big fan of David Bradley too. Ooooo that made me so mad!!

    Any chance to see Sir Caine saying menacing one liners and dishing out justice is always gonna be a winner. The only thing I didn’t like was the drug house scene with Sean Harris. It was really surreal and felt out of place. Saying that it was a long time ago, very much in need for a re-watch.

    PS “made me aggravated enough to seek some vengeance of my own” Did you dress up as “D. Baxter the Bobcat” and go unleash your fury on that stupid purple faced reptile “Dinger”? LOL


    • Todd B

      Thanks, Mikey! Yeah, it was like Gran Torino…I’d read once that GT was going to be a Dirty Harry film, but sadly it didn’t turn out that way. Might’ve been cool if Harry Brown had followed that lead and had been a belated Get Carter sequel instead…or even one featuring Harry Palmer. Just change the last name!

      Either way, it was cool to see Caine getting rough with the ‘chavs’ (had to look that one up). And I agree, that drug house scene was a bit odd…I kept saying to myself, “what are you doing there?” Still nice to see him kick some druggie ass, though.

      And believe it or not, I also had to look up both D. Baxter the Bobcat and Dinger…at first, I thought maybe I’d missed out one some new enemies of Godzilla, or perhaps a pair of characters from a recent Disney release. Goes to show you how little I pay attention to baseball today…and D. Baxter resides right here in AZ! But you got that last part right…I did indeed unleash some unmitigated fury on Dinger, as you can see here:

      Liked by 1 person

      • SFTLRB*

        A geriatric Dirty Harry taking down wrongen’s whilst wearing incontinence pants and a zimmer frame holding his Magnum 45 could’ve been a great take LOL…. Joking of course. An older Harry could of been real cool. Though GT really hit well with that end scene. Very clever and an emotional hit.

        Haha I love the fact Dinger must get it so regularly that no one in the crowd really reacts to that brutal takedown LOL.

        I thought I dug deep on those baseball references hehe but now I remember it’s the old games you follow. The days when the whole stadium would of said in unison “FUCK THAT!” and all charged down and kicked seven shades of shit out of Dinger, without spilling a drop of beer! Before calmly lighting a cigarette and walking back to their seats to finish watching the game.

        *sorry for the late reply bro


      • Todd B

        Ha, I’m glad you added that asterisk to your opening acronym…my immediate thought was, Shut the Fuck Up, Little River Band! (And yes, I know, I initially inverted the ‘F’ and ‘T’)

        And you’re right…I miss the old days of Mr Red, the Phillie Phanatic, and the KGB Chicken. And pretty funny that nobody reacts to Dinger’s take-down…ho hum, another game, another mascot getting the hell beaten out of him.

        And speaking of which, check out this classic moment of manager Tommy Lasorda going after the Phanatic:


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From the Monolith: 130

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