In England, retired Royal 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
Katie Jarvis was set to play a female thug, but had to back out of the production as she was pregnant at the time. See more »
Harry Brown makes a reference to the abdominal wound of the gun dealer as probably involving his liver. The liver is in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen, the bullet wound was in the left lower quadrant making this reference inaccurate. See more »
Do you want it, fella, huh?
Because you wanted this yesterday, brother. You wanna do this shit?
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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. If I'd have seen this film beforehand I'd not have gone within a mile of the area, never mind into its seedy interior.
Apparently Michael Caine is from "The Elephant" so this was probably quite a nostalgic road trip for him. In the movie he plays a vigilante gradually becoming more and more determined to avenge the brutal murder of his old mate (fast on the heels of his wife's death) at the hands of a bunch of local scum who terrorise the neighbourhood.
This is no ordinary vigilante movie and, although I haven't seen it, it must bear considerable comparison to Grand Torino where another fine actor in his latter years dominates a movie.
The casting is wonderful and the thugs that terrify the local community are entirely believable. But from start to finish this is Caine's movie. He plays his part with massive pathos. We feel deeply sorry for him as, first, his wife and, then, his only chum pass away leaving him quietly tormented and then incredibly angry as he learns that his mates death was mockingly filmed on a mobile phone to the accompaniment of raucous laughter.
The brutality of this movie is searing and really shocking at times. The riot scene is entirely believable, which is difficult to achieve on a low budget but certainly hits the spot. It plays an important central role in undermining the police and showing them off as the useless and uncaring force that director, Daniel Barber is keen to establish .
Two things make this movie a real stand out; Caine and the pacing of the action.
It starts brutally slowly and gradually winds up in pace and tension but never to Hollywood proportions. Don't forget that Caine is a pensioner! Amazingly it holds your belief throughout - not an inconsiderable achievement in a genre that tends to become overblown and ridiculous.
I expect Michael Caine will get a BAFTA nomination for this (at the very least). He might even win because his performance is stunning. I certainly hope so.
His best performance? Arguably.
A great film? Definitely.
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