Harry Brown (2009) Poster

Harry Brown (2009)

  • Rate: 7.3/10 total 33,511 votes 
  • Genre: Crime | Drama | Thriller
  • Release Date: 11 November 2009 (Ireland)
  • Runtime: 103 min | Canada:97 min (Toronto International Film Festival)
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Harry Brown (2009)

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  • IMDb page: Harry Brown (2009)
  • Rate: 7.3/10 total 33,511 votes 
  • Genre: Crime | Drama | Thriller
  • Release Date: 11 November 2009 (Ireland)
  • Runtime: 103 min | Canada:97 min (Toronto International Film Festival)
  • Filming Location: Aylesbury Estate, Walworth, London, England, UK
  • Budget: $7,300,000(estimated)
  • Gross: $1,818,681(USA)(8 August 2010)
  • Director: Daniel Barber
  • Stars: Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer and David Bradley
  • Original Music By: Ruth Barrett  Martin Phipps   
  • Soundtrack: End Credits
  • Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
  • Plot Keyword: Widower | Gang | Police | Chess | Arrest

Writing Credits By:

  • Gary Young (screenplay)

Known Trivia

  • The woman singing ‘Gold’ in the pub was the unit nurse on the film.
  • Daniel Barber’s feature debut.
  • Michael Caine saw a lot of himself in the character of Harry Brown, e.g. they’re both combat veterans (Harry is a Marine who served in Northern Ireland, Caine served in the British Army during the Korean war), and Caine lived in the same area that Brown does. It was things like these that drew him to the film.

Goofs: Errors in geography: Although supposedly set in south London, most of the graffiti on the estate has been lifted straight from the New York underground scene by the movies art department, with internationally recognized American Graffiti artists such as 'Kez' and 'Skuf' and 'YKK crew' adorning the supposedly British sink estate.

Plot: An elderly ex-serviceman and widower looks to avenge his best friend's murder by doling out his own form of justice. Full summary »  »

Story: In England, retired marine Harry Brown spends his lonely life between the hospital, where his beloved wife Kath is terminally ill, and playing chess with his only friend Leonard Attwell in the Barge pub owned by Sid Rourke. After the death of Kath, Len tells his grieving friend that the local gang is harassing him and he is carrying an old bayonet for self-defense; the widower suggests him to go to the police. When Len is beaten, then stabbed to death in an underground passage, Inspector Alice Frampton and her partner Sergeant Terry Hicock are sent to investigate. They pay Harry a visit but don't have good news; the police have not found any other evidence, other than the bayonet, in order to arrest the hoodlums. This mean that should the case go to trial the gang would claim self-defense. Harry Brown sees that justice will not be granted and decides to take matters into his own hands.Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  

Synopsis

Synopsis: Shot with a cellphone camera, the film opens with a gang initiation, where a boy living on a council estate in South London is made to take drugs and hold a pistol. He is later shown joyriding with two others on a motorbike, harassing and shooting dead a mother walking her child, and then fleeing only to be killed by an oncoming lorry.

The eponymous Harry Brown (Michael Caine), an elderly former Royal Marine and Northern Ireland veteran, tries his best to be indifferent about his violent neighbourhood. He lives in a small flat at Heygate Estate in Walworth, London. He often pays visits to his hospitalized and comatose wife, but avoids cutting through a noisy public underpass under a local motorway, which is a gathering spot at all hours for a local street gang. Otherwise, he spends his days drinking and playing chess with his best friend, Leonard Attwell (David Bradley), at a pub run by Sid (Liam Cunningham), a shady Irishman who takes kickbacks from a pair of black marketeers, Kenny (Joseph Gilgun) and Stretch (Sean Harris).

Harry is awakened in the middle of the night by a phone call where he is informed that his wife is dying, but in order to reach the hospital before she passes away he must go through the underpass, but he is too scared to do so and arrives too late. After the funeral, Leonard confides that he is being bullied by some youths and shows him an old bayonet he now carries to defend himself, citing that the police would not heed his complaints. Leonard later wakes in his flat to find someone had pushed burning dog faeces through his mail slot.

The next day, Harry is visited by detectives Alice Frampton (Emily Mortimer) and Terry Hicock (Charlie Creed-Miles), who tell him that Leonard had been murdered. Members of a local gang, including the gang’s leader Noel Winters (Ben Drew), are arrested, but they refuse to answer questions about the murder and are all released due to lack of evidence. Harry gets drunk after Leonard’s funeral, and while walking home along a cannal street, one of Noel’s gang attempt to rob him with a knife; Harry’s military training suddenly reasserts itself and he turns the knife on his druged-up attacker, killing him.

Detective Frampton visits Harry again the following morning and informs him that because Leonard was killed with his own bayonet, the crime will be reduced to manslaughter on the basis of self-defense.

Harry decides to take matters into his own hands by becoming a vigilante. The following night, he follows Kenny from Sid’s pub to a squalid den and manages to talk himself into a pistol deal. Inside, the drugged-up dealers are growing copious amounts of cannabis and making pornography, and have one of the girls abused in these videos on their sofa, suffering from a drug overdose. Harry asks Stretch to call an ambulance for her, but he threatens him instead, forcing Harry to ambush the pair and kills them both. He then steals several handguns, burns down the den, and drives the girl to a hospital in the drug dealers’ vehicle. He notices that the bag that he had picked up at the den contains enormous amount of money, which he takes with him, after leaving a wad of notes for the girl, who is still unconscious. He later deposits this money in a church.

Over the next few days, Harry continues to survey the members Noel’s gang which leads Harry to kill a major drug-trafficker and to capture the newest gang member Marky (Jack O’Connell), whom he tortures into revealing some cellphone camera footage of Leonard’s murder, proving the gang’s involvement. Harry uses Marky to bait Noel and another gang member into a gunfight at the underpass, which ends with Noel escaping, but Marky and the other gang member are killed. Harry gives chase, but collapses after having an emphysema attack, leaving him to be taken to hospital.

Certain that the recent violence is related to a gang war, Police Superintendent Childs (Iain Glen) orders a major arrest operation, unconvinced that Harry is the vigilante as Frampton had determined. The late-night raids on the neighbourhood result in a massive riot. Harry later awakens and escapes from the hospital, and Frampton convinces Hicock to help her stop him, but the two end up badly injured in a car crash. Harry rescues them and takes them to Sid’s pub, where Frampton tells Harry that Sid is actually Noel’s uncle. He also discovers that he had been hiding him, but his guard drops due to his emphysema, allowing Sid to take them hostage.

After Sid has control, Harry shows Sid the video of Noel killing Leonard and is angry at Noel for "playing games". Frampton is in the midst of calling for backup when Noel stops her, helping his uncle to kill the three and dump them outside as riot victims. Sid suffocates Hicock to death while Noel begins strangling Frampton. Harry then laboringly draws a hidden revolver and kills Noel just as Sid wounds Harry with his own gun, but before Sid can finally execute him, Frampton’s police backup arrives and he is gunned down by a police marksman.

At a news conference held after the riot, Childs states that Frampton and the late Hicock will be rewarded posthumously for their work, but denies any vigilante involvement in the entire case.

The final scene is of a seemingly recovered Harry walking toward the underpass, which is now quiet and safe and the gang nowhere in sight. (Note: there is some debate over the ending which is left ambigious at whether Harry has indeed recovered from his severe gunshot wounds, or that Harry may have died from it or his emphysema and is now living a peaceful afterlife in a peaceful neighbourhood devoid of gangs, crime, riots…. and traffic.)

 

FullCast & Crew

Produced By:

  • Reno Antoniades known as executive producer
  • Keith Bell known as producer
  • Paul Brett known as executive producer
  • Matthew Brown known as producer
  • Tim Haslam known as executive producer
  • David Higginson known as line producer
  • Christos Michaels known as executive producer
  • Steve Norris known as executive producer
  • Tim Smith known as executive producer
  • Kris Thykier known as producer
  • Matthew Vaughn known as producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Michael Caine known as Harry Brown
  • Emily Mortimer known as D.I. Alice Frampton
  • Charlie Creed-Miles known as D.S. Terry Hicock (as Charlie Creed Miles)
  • David Bradley known as Leonard Attwell
  • Iain Glen known as S.I. Childs
  • Sean Harris known as Stretch
  • Ben Drew known as Noel Winters
  • Jack O'Connell known as Marky
  • Jamie Downey known as Carl
  • Lee Oakes known as Dean Saunders
  • Joseph Gilgun known as Kenny
  • Liam Cunningham known as Sid Rourke
  • Marva Alexander known as Nurse #1
  • Liz Daniels known as Kath Brown
  • Marvin Campbell known as Stunt Neighbour (as Marvin Stewart-Campbell)
  • Lauretta Gavin known as Neighbour's Wife
  • Radoslaw Kaim known as Doctor (as Rad Kaim)
  • Claire Hackett known as Jean Winters
  • Ashley McGuire known as Community WPC
  • Raza Jaffrey known as Father Bracken
  • Martin Wilde known as Stunt Boyfriend
  • Sian Milne known as Stunt Girlfriend
  • Klariza Clayton known as Unconscious Girl
  • Grace Vallorani known as Linda
  • Sue Farr known as Karaoke Singer
  • Forbes KB known as Troy Martindale
  • Michelle Tate known as Female Gang Member
  • Orla O'Rourke known as Nurse #2
  • Andy Pilgrim known as Stunt Youth
  • Aldonio Danny Freitas known as Stunt Rioter (as Danny Freitas)
  • Mens-Sana Tamakloe known as Stunt Rioter
  • Rob Hunt known as Stunt Police
  • Gary Hoptrough known as Stunt Police
  • Gary Connery known as Stunt Police
  • Amanda Foster known as Stunt Police
  • Charles Ramsay known as Stunt Police (as Charlie Ramsay)
  • Pete Ford known as Stunt Police
  • Andy Merchant known as Stunt Police
  • Ian van Temperley known as Stunt Police (as Ian Van Temperley)
  • Erol Mehmet known as Stunt Police
  • Roy Taylor known as Stunt Police
  • Chris Pollard known as Stunt Police
  • Amy Steel known as Nurse #3
  • Robert Styles known as Journalist
  • Andy Wareham known as Stunt Boy on bike
  • Tony Massiah known as Gang Member #1
  • Ian Pead known as Stunt Boy on bike
  • Belinda McGinley known as Mother
  • Ashley George known as Boy in Len's Flat
  • Amy Edge known as Girl in Len's Flat
  • Lee Edgar known as Police Officer (uncredited)
  • Martin Heathcote known as Arresting Police Officer (uncredited)
  • Karl Rhodes known as CID Officer (uncredited)
  • Laurence Richardson known as Journalist (uncredited)
  • Chris Wilson known as Daniel Ladlow – Assistant Chief Constable (uncredited)

..

 

Supporting Department

Makeup Department:
  • Jemma Carballo known as hair stylist: second unit
  • Jemma Carballo known as makeup artist: second unit
  • Abigail Edwards known as makeup artist
  • Jacqueline Fowler known as chief hair designer
  • Jacqueline Fowler known as chief makeup designer
  • Paul Hyett known as prosthetic makeup
  • Chris Lyons known as special effects teeth
  • Kelly Marazzi known as personal hair stylist: Michael Caine
  • Kelly Marazzi known as personal makeup artist: Michael Caine
  • Alison Rainey known as makeup artist
  • Simon Rose known as prosthetic makeup
  • Stuart Conran known as prosthetic technician (uncredited)
  • Heather Pitchford known as daily makeup artist (uncredited)
  • Nadia Stacey known as dailies makeup artist (uncredited)

Art Department:

  • Mark Adams known as painter
  • Matt Amos known as painter
  • Caroline Bateman known as art department assistant
  • Ian Bee known as hod carpenter
  • Paul Bowring known as construction manager
  • Barry Chapman known as props runaround
  • David Chettleborough known as carpenter (as Dave Chettleborough)
  • Sophia Chowdhury known as production buyer
  • Nicholas Clayton known as carpenter
  • Dean Clegg known as draftsman
  • John Davies known as hod painter
  • Garry Dawson known as dressing props
  • Kevin Day known as stand-by props
  • Nick Dewsbury known as carpenter
  • Neil Dickson known as carpenter
  • Danny Gardiner known as graffiti artist (as Dan gardiner)
  • Roger Gomez known as stagehand
  • Joshua Hartnett known as stand-by art director (as Josh Hartnett)
  • Dean Lee known as dressing props
  • Chris Lunney known as graphic designer
  • Alex MacDonald known as painter
  • Danny Montague known as painter
  • Carly Reddin known as model maker
  • Frank Rizzo known as poster artist
  • Cosmo Sarson known as graffiti artist
  • Mary Pat Sheahan known as painter
  • Fabrice Spelta known as standby art director: second unit
  • Geoff Stainthorp known as carpenter (as Geoff Stainthorpe)
  • Dorothy Sullivan known as assistant buyer
  • Bob Thorne known as stand-by props
  • Paul Turner known as stand-by props: second unit
  • Amanda Waddington known as painter
  • Steve Wheeler known as property master
  • Tina Charad known as visual research (uncredited)
  • Lee Hosken known as stand-by carpenter (uncredited)
  • Simon Hutchings known as standby painter (uncredited)
  • Constance Laperche known as visual research (uncredited)
  • Sophie Tarver known as propmaker (uncredited)
  • Louis Turner known as stand-by props (uncredited)

..

 

Company

Production Companies:

  • Marv Films (as Marv Partners) (presents)
  • UK Film Council (presents)
  • HanWay Films (in association with)
  • Prescience Film Fund (as Prescience) (in association with)
  • Framestore (as Framestore Features) (in association with)
  • Prescience

Other Companies:

  • Air Lyndhurst Studios  music recorded at
  • Air-Edel Recording Studios  music mixed at (as Air Edel Recording Studios)
  • Angel Studios  music recorded at
  • Angels  costumier
  • Audiolink Radio Communications  walkie talkies (as Audiolink)
  • Camera Revolution  cameras and lenses by
  • Clearing House, The  clearances
  • Cool Music  musicians contracted by
  • Cutting Edge Group  music services provided by (as Cutting Edge Music Services Limited)
  • Eastside Communications  publicity: Germany
  • Fatts  post-production script services
  • Film Finances  completion guarantor
  • Framestore Design  front and end title design
  • Framestore  digital intermediate
  • Freud Communications  publicity
  • Goldcrest Post Production London  adr recorded at (as Goldcrest Post Production)
  • HireWorks  Avid equipment rental
  • Hubbard Casting  casting
  • JHA safe T  health and safety officer (as JHA Safe T)
  • Lee & Thompson  legal clearances (as Lee & Thompson Solicitors)
  • Location Facilities  location facilities supplied by
  • Location Hire  location facilities supplied by
  • Mann Made Films  post production services (as Mann Made Films)
  • Media & Entertainment Insurance Services  insurance
  • My Coal  costumier
  • On Set Location Services  location facilities supplied by (as On-Set Locations)
  • Online Post Productions  editing facilities (as Online Post Production)
  • Panalux  lighting equipment
  • Perpetual Film Capital  bridge finance provided by
  • Pinewood Studios  sound re-recorded at
  • Prescience Film Fund  bridge finance provided by (as Prescience Film Finance)
  • Red Chutney  catering: main unit
  • Resonant Music (1) Limited Partners  score published by
  • SL Video  cameras and lenses by
  • Salon  editing equipment (as Salon Rentals)
  • Sargent-Disc  payroll service
  • Sound 24  sound design and post production sound
  • Take 2 Film Services  cameras and lenses by
  • Technicolor  release printing

Distributors:

  • A-Film Distribution (2010) (Netherlands) (theatrical)
  • E1 Entertainment (2009) (Canada) (theatrical)
  • Icon Film Distribution (2010) (Australia) (theatrical)
  • Lionsgate (2009) (UK) (theatrical)
  • Nordisk Film Theatrical Distribution (2010) (Finland) (theatrical)
  • Samuel Goldwyn Films (2010) (USA) (theatrical)
  • Surreal Films (2011) (France) (theatrical)
  • A-Film Home Entertainment (2010) (Netherlands) (DVD)
  • A-Film Home Entertainment (2010) (Netherlands) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • Amazing D.C. (2011) (Japan) (DVD)
  • Ascot Elite Entertainment Group (2010) (Switzerland) (all media)
  • Ascot Elite Home Entertainment (2010) (Germany) (all media)
  • David Distribucion (2009) (Mexico) (all media)
  • Europa Filmes (2010) (Brazil) (DVD)
  • Film1 (2010) (Netherlands) (TV) (limited)
  • Front Row Filmed Entertainment (2010) (United Arab Emirates) (all media) (Middle East)
  • Hollydan Works (2009) (Serbia) (all media)
  • Lionsgate Home Entertainment (2010) (UK) (DVD)
  • Lionsgate Home Entertainment (2010) (UK) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • MG Film (2010) (Croatia) (all media)
  • Nordisk Film (2010) (Finland) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • Odeon (2010) (Greece) (all media)
  • Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (2010) (USA) (DVD)
  • Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA) (2010) (USA) (all media)

..

 

Other Stuff

Special Effects:

  • Framestore (visual effects)

Visual Effects by:

  • Louie Alexander known as compositing: Framestore
  • Avtar Bains known as additional compositor: Framestore
  • Greg Barrett known as head of digital lab: Framestore
  • Rodrigo Bernardo known as engineer: Framestore
  • Zachary Bloom known as scanning and recording operator: Framestore (as Zac Bloom)
  • Erika Bruning known as hd mastering producer: Framestore
  • Nigel Bunyan known as visual effects editor
  • Zoe Cousins known as scanning and recording operator: Framestore
  • Eric D'Souza known as engineer: Framestore
  • Jerome Dewhurst known as engineer: Framestore
  • Richard Edwards known as data operator: Framestore
  • Jonathan Hairman known as additional compositor: Framestore
  • Adam Hawkes known as compositing: Framestore
  • Karsten Hecker known as engineer: Framestore
  • Joseph Hoare known as scanning and recording operator: Framestore
  • Paul Hyman known as visual effects editor
  • Pete Jones known as visual effects coordinator: Framestore
  • James Long known as data operator: Framestore
  • Kevin Lowery known as hd mastering engineer: Framestore
  • Laura Lunt known as production manager: Framestore
  • Veronica Marcano known as scanning and recording operator: Framestore
  • Stephanie Mills known as compositing artist: Framestore
  • Savneet Nagi known as compositing artist: Framestore
  • Darran Nicholson known as additional compositor: Framestore
  • Marcelo Pasqualino known as compositing artist: Framestore
  • Chris Redding known as compositing artist: Framestore
  • Pedro Sabrosa known as visual effects supervisor
  • Jimmy Saul known as scanning and recording manager: Framestore
  • Michael Stanish known as visual effects producer: Framestore
  • Clare Brody known as data operator: Famestore (uncredited)
  • Andrew Harvey known as digital intermediate retouch (uncredited)
  • Adam Hawkes known as digital compositor (uncredited)
  • Jan Hogevold known as executive producer: Framestore di (uncredited)
  • Edwin Metternich known as digital intermediate retouch (uncredited)
  • Dave Robinson known as systems engineer (uncredited)

Release Date:

  • Canada 12 September 2009 (Toronto International Film Festival)
  • Qatar 30 October 2009 (Doha Tribeca Film Festival)
  • USA 6 November 2009 (American Film Market)
  • Ireland 11 November 2009
  • UK 11 November 2009
  • UK 12 November 2009 (Leeds International Film Festival)
  • Poland 4 December 2009 (Camerimage Film Festival)
  • New Zealand 2010
  • USA 8 January 2010 (Palm Springs International Film Festival)
  • Poland 15 January 2010
  • Netherlands 25 February 2010
  • Hong Kong 30 March 2010 (Hong Kong International Film Festival)
  • Greece 8 April 2010
  • Finland 9 April 2010 (Night Visions Film Festival)
  • USA 30 April 2010 (limited)
  • Brazil 19 May 2010 (DVD premiere)
  • Denmark 20 May 2010
  • Canada 21 May 2010 (limited)
  • Australia 25 May 2010
  • Finland 4 June 2010
  • South Africa 24 July 2010 (Durban Film Festival)
  • Germany 19 August 2010 (Berlin Fantasy Filmfest)
  • Argentina 1 September 2010 (DVD premiere)
  • Kuwait 30 September 2010
  • Germany 21 October 2010 (DVD premiere)
  • Russia 29 October 2010 (New British Film Festival)
  • France 12 December 2010 (Les Arcs International Film Festival)
  • France 12 January 2011
  • Japan 4 March 2011 (DVD premiere)
  • Spain 27 April 2011 (DVD premiere)
  • Hungary 22 September 2011 (Jameson Cinefest International Film Festival)
  • Hungary 6 October 2011

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

..

 
 

Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database


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Posted on March 30, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , , , .

10 Comments

  1. srlawton-578-345144 from United Kingdom
    30 Mar 2012, 4:47 am

    This film accurately depicts life in modern Britain today.

    Not the image of a flowing rolling countryside of middle class Englandwhich is often depicted in typical international films but one of aninner city "sink" estate – Elephant & Castle in London – with all ofits associated problems.

    I saw the film last night and it brought back all the memories I haveof having lived in similar circumstances.

    Michael Caine is excellent, this is probably one of his best films andI expect film nominations for his role.

    The film gives a gritty but realistic view of the life most people liveon the sink estates of Britain, all are there through no choice oftheir own, but some are aware of the conditions they are forced to livein.

    I don't think we'll see the British government promoting this film asit portraits the country in a very bad light, though, if you are notfrom Britain and would like a taste of what some of us have to put upwith I recommend you see this film.

    Overall, a very well put together film which will make the hairs on theback of your neck stand up at times.

    Well done Michael and all of the team.

  2. CinemaAddict from Belgium
    30 Mar 2012, 4:47 am

    To start with, much credit must be given to the director and the castfor this dramatic masterpiece. All the actors, be it the talentedMichael Caine or the younger members representing the gang, deliveredan excellent performance contributing to the disturbing realism thisfilm was able to achieve.

    Combined with the perfect soundtrack, this film addresses the verycontemporary issues that are violence and injustice in our supposedlycivilised nations. Unlike Banlieue 13 which used the same kind ofcontext to produce a superfluous action flick, or Gran Torino whichconfronts the issue from the perspective of racism, the realism ofHarry Brown cannot but make us aware of our flawed individualisticsociety.

    This film depicts the destructive environment in which the unfortunatemany attempt to survive the anger, the fear and the injustice whichinevitably feed the criminality plaguing our "evolved" world.

    Not only is this film Oscar worthy, but most importantly, worth yourwhile. If you enjoy good cinema and a good philosophical debate, thenyou will most definitively appreciate this genuine perspective onhumanity!

  3. (g-harrington) from United Kingdom
    30 Mar 2012, 4:47 am

    There are no Hollywood moments in this movie, and that's probably why Ilove it! Possibly the best movie Michael Caine has ever been a part of.

    The director does a truly awesome job of portraying his world withconvincing and seedy squalour, almost leaving the viewer feeling soiledby the experience. His characters aren't just overtly filthy scum -they're real and believable scum.

    Michael's character shines.

    The are no violent rape/murder scenes where his family die at the handsof an outlaw biker gang, no terrorists holding his wife to ransom…just an old boy who has seen too many recent horrors to suffer theindignity of it any more.

    From a drunken moment where his old military reflexes kick in withshocking consequence, to the understated twist of a finale, you can'thelp but feel for this man and see good cause for his actions. He'severy bit the tired old serviceman whose plight tugs on every decentfibre until you find yourself snapping along with him.

    He's no Rambo, no bullet-dodging arse-kicker on a rampage of revenge,and the action manages to paint well within the lines of plausibility.He ambles into the role with dignity – even if he's moving far too wellfor someone in his condition (emphazema doesn't just kick in after aten foot jog – it's not asthma), and the impact of his losses isportrayed with a hopeless sadness that rather makes you want to hug thepoor soul than scream "revenge".

    I enjoyed this movie rather more than I expected to, and I would highlyrecommend it. It's neatly understated, with the right blend of pace andaction. There's never any risk of failing to 'get it' – the directoreasily renders the various elements of the story in the light hechooses, making a few select points without hammering them home with acricket bat; his Police are ineffectual bureaucrats, his protagonist isjust an old man, and his scum… well, I feel like I've lived with themall my life.

    Oh yeah, I have.

    A truly entertaining and captivating film that's quintessentiallyBritish. You just *have* to watch it.

  4. Pete Smith from United Kingdom
    30 Mar 2012, 4:47 am

    The pre main-credit sequence, shot to resemble mobile-phone footage,had the desired effect: the sense of shock from the capacity audiencewas palpable. The film then slows down to show the reality of HarryBrown's life as a pensioner on a South London high-rise estate .Showing his routine of walking to the hospital to visit his very illwife, having to walk a long way round to avoid confrontation with anunseen group of youths who use an underpass as their base and hismeetings with his old friend and chess partner Lenny in the estate pub.There aren't many other people walking about the estate, even indaylight, out of fear of the gun-carrying teenage gangs.

    Michael Caine's performance as Harry Brown is wonderful. His timing isspot-on. Credit to director Daniel Barber for allowing him space tobreathe and not be hurried. In fact the overall pacing is excellent.There is good use of the soundtrack with the lack of intrusive musicadding to the reality feel of the film. The night scenes arebeautifully lit as well with a good balance between just enough to seewhat's going on and making the lighting realistic: the night scene inthe pub with the lights out, for instance.

    This film has been compared to 'Death Wish' and 'Gran Torino', butthose films haven't got this film's bleak, realistic look at how lifeis in these areas. There always remains a sense of watching a film, ofentertainment, of it being 'Hollywood'. This is a lot more down toearth. This film has more in common with Mike Leigh's TV drama'Meantime' and with 'Gomorra'.

    This isn't an easy 'first-date' film but it is a superior Brit film,one of the best for many years. I'm glad to see that it has got somemarketing push behind it and has generated column inches talking aboutthe subject of these 'no-go' areas and society in general.

    Shocking and brilliant.

  5. RedRoadster from London, England
    30 Mar 2012, 4:47 am

    Daniel Barbers disturbing vision of life on a South London Councilestate was filmed in and around the Elephant and castle where leadingman Michael Caine actually spent his formative years.

    As the film's protagonist, the titular "Harry Brown" Caine plays aretired ex-marine who loses his wife to illness in the opening stage ofthe film. Clinging to his old moral values, disciplined and alwayswearing a tie, he is an example of the post war generation who arebecoming fewer and fewer on the estate. His only enjoyment seems to behaving a drink and a game of chess in his local pub with his friendLeonard. When Leonard reacts to the increasing violence on the estateby confronting the gang responsible, he is brutally murdered. Harry isinformed by the police of this incident and it hurts him terribly,telling the police that they are powerless to do anything about it.Slowly and almost imperceptibly, Harry snaps and decides that he isgoing to sort it out the old fashioned way.

    It is obvious that this film owes much to Michael Winners "Death Wish"(1974) but this story is so much more bleak and depressing. The youngactors who play the gang members are so realistic that they areuncomfortable to watch. The story shows you failings in society atevery level and a police division run by a superintendent who iscontent to put up token resistance and little else. Harry Brown doeswhat most people would like to do deep down inside and take the fightto the criminals.

    Michael Caine does a great job of getting the best out of a poor scriptthat doesn't give enough dialogue to flesh out the characters properly.He makes the transition from pensioner to vigilante credibly andwithout becoming a totally different character. The limited sets add aneffective touch of claustrophobia but I found the unrelentingdepictions of sleaze and urban decay a bit tough to take. There aresome very uncomfortable scenes of drug use and violence also,particularly the climactic shoot out in the pub. The supporting castare competent enough with Ben Drew standing out in his role as theparticularly nasty young scum bag "Noel" . Emily Mortimer as DIFrampton is fairly inert and has only one facial expression and a vagueattitude throughout the whole film which puts you off feeling much forher character.

    "Harry Brown" is not a pleasant film to watch, but it is certainly anexperience which will pull on every one of your your emotions and isimpossible to ignore.

  6. markgorman from edinburgh, scotland
    30 Mar 2012, 4:47 am

    The movie is set in The Elephant and Castle where I, as a 17 year old,went to a strip joint in a well dodgy pub during a visit to London. IfI'd have seen this film beforehand I'd not have gone within a mile ofthe area, never mind into its seedy interior.

    Apparently Michael Caine is from "The Elephant" so this was probablyquite a nostalgic road trip for him. In the movie he plays a vigilantegradually becoming more and more determined to avenge the brutal murderof his old mate (fast on the heels of his wife's death) at the hands ofa bunch of local scum who terrorise the neighbourhood.

    This is no ordinary vigilante movie and, although I haven't seen it, itmust bear considerable comparison to Grand Torino where another fineactor in his latter years dominates a movie.

    The casting is wonderful and the thugs that terrify the local communityare entirely believable. But from start to finish this is Caine'smovie. He plays his part with massive pathos. We feel deeply sorry forhim as, first, his wife and, then, his only chum pass away leaving himquietly tormented and then incredibly angry as he learns that his matesdeath was mockingly filmed on a mobile phone to the accompaniment ofraucous laughter.

    The brutality of this movie is searing and really shocking at times.The riot scene is entirely believable, which is difficult to achieve ona low budget but certainly hits the spot. It plays an important centralrole in undermining the police and showing them off as the useless anduncaring force that director, Daniel Barber is keen to establish .

    Two things make this movie a real stand out; Caine and the pacing ofthe action.

    It starts brutally slowly and gradually winds up in pace and tensionbut never to Hollywood proportions. Don't forget that Caine is apensioner! Amazingly it holds your belief throughout – not aninconsiderable achievement in a genre that tends to become overblownand ridiculous.

    I expect Michael Caine will get a BAFTA nomination for this (at thevery least). He might even win because his performance is stunning. Icertainly hope so.

    His best performance? Arguably.

    A great film? Definitely.

  7. dwingrove-583-474811 from United Kingdom
    30 Mar 2012, 4:47 am

    It will be said by many that this is predictable and shallow on plot orsub-plot and this would be true.

    What this film does, however, is take Grand Torino and turn it into thefilm it should have been, could have been, ought to have been.

    This is no Death Wish movie. It is the story of a man driven to theabsolute end of his tether by events. You can feel the emotion inCaine's performance, something that I would say is lacking in many ofhis performances, and is therefore lifted. This is not Rambo orCommando, where a retired army dude ripped to the hilt dons his gearone last time. It is an old man doing what can be done and surprisinghimself, I think.

    It is a dark film supported by a very well acted cast. The gang membersfeel real. One or two unanswered questions which you would expect butoverall a great effort.

  8. theycallmemrglass from United Kingdom
    30 Mar 2012, 4:47 am

    Watched this at a London preview screening

    This is an enjoyable, and often tense vigilante film. But don't lookfor a radical plot line or unpredictable twists because this is simplya straight forward and predictable Death Wish style vigilante story.I'll give absolutely no credit to the screenplay writer for that.

    But full marks to the director for turning up the high tensions to makethis still an exciting film. Having lived in a council estate myself, Iknow how frightening some youngsters are and can be more terrifyingthan the recent flurry of zombie films.

    However, this is Michael Caine's show and is a fine addition to therecent surge of old tough guys fighting back movies such as GranTorino. Caine was brilliant as usual. He makes the most of a pitifullytypical script. That is of a widower seeking violent vengeance on theyouths who killed his friend. He played it subtle and his vigilantetransition was done just right. He isn't turned into some unrealisticslick killing machine or a Rambo. He has typical elderly obstacles suchas breathing problems, slow reflexes and old bones but some of hismilitary skills give him a chance. There is a also a sub plot involvinga female detective on his trail but it so underwritten, I just didn'tcare.

    The actors playing the youths were very very convincing and help toroot for our pensioner hero even more. So it is satisfying to see ourlegendary cockney actor clean up some really nasty bad guys.

  9. Cihan "Sean Victorydawn" Vercan from Canada, Ottawa, Algonquin College TV-Broadcasting
    30 Mar 2012, 4:47 am

    Michael Caine portrays Harry Brown, an aged honest joe living in a cityof chaos, where juveniles are driven into drugs and crime. A new angleof view to the 90s' popular crime genre since Tarantino's ReservoirDogs(1992) and Danny Boyle's Trainspotting(1996)… Essentially, thismovie suggests what can be done with streets when an old chap, who hasa medal-of-honor in naval forces, is left alone in his small apartment.It offers an excellent concept through aged Harry Brown's point ofview, which is as good as the past summer's animation hit: Up.

    It's obvious that the film draws huge benefit from its thematic values.First, Harry Brown's wife passes away due to geriatric causes. Then,his close friend and neighbour Leonard Atwoll gets killed by rounderjuveniles at a night time. Whilst having a life-time crisis, policecome to his door for investigation of Atwoll's murdering. Under aconfusion of fear, anger and despair; all of a sudden he finds himselfrunning after the vengeance of his friend Atwoll. Keeping track of thestreet gangs, he lays a trap to show up as a businessman trading gunswith them. Since it's Michael Caine as we know him, he is an expert atfooling people with detracting their attention; so by courtesy of histiming skills and luck, he dishes those young criminals one by one.

    Above all, Daniel Barber as a director turns this such arun-of-the-mill plot into a great suspense/thriller story. He tries toprove that Harry Brown's first murder was unwillingly just an accidentbut his last was a psychopathic mincing! Same idea here as the wayBrown removing the traces behind him, starts with cleaning andcollecting garbage, then turns out to setting fire and sabotaginglocations. Besides, characterization is at its best. The criminals wereso factual. As an important technical detail the sounds have beencaptured marvellously (with the echoes of fired bullets being heardbehind windows), and this is what makes a crime movie makes sense.

    Crime/suspense/thriller genre is getting better and better year afteryear. While we still see a lot of underdeveloped action and shallowcrime movies all around, it's obvious that Harry Brown is noteworthyand a must see for the genre followers.

  10. hussain_aisha_uk from Glasgow
    30 Mar 2012, 4:47 am

    Saw this film last night and wanted to applaud the British film-makersfor producing this great film.

    It is a film which made me literally jump from my seat with excellentfilmotography.I feel this is a film well worth watching and asmentioned in the trailers, it has to be the best British film of theyear.

    I do not think any more British releases will be able to compete withthis film.

    Michael Caine's acting is as usual superb and he has once again showedhis professionalism in a different way.

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