I recall Sir Michael Caine saying there aren’t enough good parts for men of his age and here he is, 76 and in his second film of the year. I enjoyed the delightful ‘Is Anybody There’ in which he played another elderly widower but that was a comedy compared to this tense thriller.
Harry Brown, having recently lost his wife, is now mourning the murder of his best friend by the gang on his housing estate. There are many sad moments in the film; the violence sprayed out by young criminals who see it as entertainment, the fact that people feel hopeless, the realisation that people really do live in these miserable high rises amongst sadistic criminals but the gloomiest is seeing Harry Brown standing alone at his best friend’s funeral.
This is the point when Harry turns vigilante and Michael Caine gives the performance we expect. The ex-Marine in him kicks in and he witnesses the worst of low society’s excesses in the gang-gun-prostitution den he finds himself in to obtain a weapon. This is the point the film turns and we all breathe a sigh of relief knowing Caine is on the case but it is pretty murky, edgy, gripping stuff until now.
Michael Caine makes a point on his website that this is happening today on estates across the country which is hard to stomach but if this film helps, it’s worth making. Plus everyone wants to see Michael Caine kick a*se.
The music is a tad over dramatic and the scenes of the gangs a little too lingering and although it’s too upsetting to ever see again, it’s a well made film. Released November 13th 2009
7/10 Smile factor 1/10