Harry Brown (review)

Get new reviews in your email in-box or in an app by becoming a paid Substack subscriber or Patreon patron.

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.

share and enjoy
If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.
If you haven’t commented here before, your first comment will be held for MaryAnn’s approval. This is an anti-spam, anti-troll, anti-abuse measure. If your comment is not spam, trollish, or abusive, it will be approved, and all your future comments will post immediately. (Further comments may still be deleted if spammy, trollish, or abusive, and continued such behavior will get your account deleted and banned.)
notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
view all comments
Fri, May 28, 2010 4:29pm

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

Fri, May 28, 2010 9:05pm

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

Wed, Aug 11, 2010 8:06am

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.