Michael Caine is back in this 2009 thriller from director Daniel Barber and writer Gary young.
Michael Caine stars as the eponymous Harry Brown, a retired marine who’s exciting life is long since over. Now he divides his time between looking after his terminally ill wife Kath, and playing chess with old mate Leonard in the local pub. Kath dies and Leonard confesses that he is getting grief from a local gang of yobs, a situation which spirals into Len’s murder by the gang. Harry Brown finds that he is not going to get justice as the police have no evidence of the perpetrators of the killing. When they do so, they realise that since Len carried a bayonet in fear of the gang, they would most likely claim that the killing was self defence. Harry therefore decides to take the law into his own hands one last time and sets out to avenge the death of his friend.
This is not a glamorous movie, it is set in a deprived area of London where beatings and killings are all too common, especially of the old and defenceless. Michael Caine excels in the role of Harry Brown, bringing a true grit to his vengeance as well as a sweet and mature caring side as he tends to his dying wife, then sets out to get justice for his murdered friend.
Harry Brown is a very realistic character, there is no over the top action here, Michael Caine brings dignity and a world weariness to the role of an old man going into battle one last time, drawing on all his old skills and the metal within him to fight the scumbags that killed Leonard. Ben Drew is excellent as the leader of the gang, playing a perfect counterpoint to Caine’s dignity. By halfway through, his character is thoroughly hateful and frankly, the audience feels that he deserves everything that is coming to him. Emily Mortimer is also good as the ineffective DI Frampton, a woman who does her best but finds that her best is never going to be good enough. Direction is superb, unhurried and subdued, perfect for the material.
An excellent movie.