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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

Harry Brown (review)

Michael Caine as Dirty Harry? Well, not quite. Caine’s (The Dark Knight) Harry is just a nice old bloke who lives in a terrible London council estate — we’d call it a project — where open drug-dealing and blatant intimidation and violence by hoodie-wearing teens approaches a Clockwork Orange level. Harry’s been coping with it by ignoring it as best he can… but when he loses his wife and his best friend within days of each other — one to illness, the other to an attack by the kids — Harry takes up his old ex-Marine ways and plans to take back his home. What starts out as a poignantly observed portrait of the bitter loneliness of old age — director Daniel Barber has a keen eye for making the isolation sneak up on you and sting — turns into one of the most grounded depictions of conflicted vigilantism cinema has seen, the burst of shocking violence somehow less unsettling than the helplessness of the police (Emily Mortimer [City Island] is very fine as a detective who crosses Harry’s path) and the open hostility and arrogance of the wrongdoers. It may all be exaggerated for effect, but it neverthless feels all too real.

MPAA: rated R for strong violence and language throughout, drug use and sexual content

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb | trailer
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  • misterb

    How does this compare to “Gran Torino”? Sounds like the same movie, give or take.

  • MaryAnn

    It’s not at all the same movie. For one, it lacks the annoying over-the-top earnestness of *Gran Torino.*

  • Rose

    My dad has a church on that estate, the whole place is now derelict except the church – films go there all the time. They used the church as a green room. The estate was never all that bad though.

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