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April 2010

Harry Brown

cast: Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, Ben Drew, and Iain Glen

director: Daniel Barber

103 minutes (18) 2009
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
Lions Gate DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 8/10
review by Adam Hartley

Hary Brown

Having been initially described as Michael Caine's Gran Torino, watching a trailer of Harry Brown it is easy to see why. Both films have aging actors in roles that seem very epitomic and worthy of a final bow. When you actually watch the film however, it is very different. Gran Torino seems to focus mainly on Clint Eastwood's character specifically within an isolated area, whereas Harry Brown draws focus away from the main character and places him as the observer and our eyes. The actual focus of the film is in the world around Caine's character.

The role of observer is maintained until, as if the dark mind of the audience wills it, Brown starts to interfere with the world around. The world around him is London and specifically the estates and underground, where the teenagers and drug dealers rule and bully everyone around. When Brown's best friend is killed by a local teenage gang, he takes it upon himself to see that those responsible are dealt with.

The film follows Brown on his journey of revenge through a number of incredibly tense and well acted scenes. There is also a western style ending to top it off. Harry Brown is a fantastic move away from Caine's recent roles, many of which saw him as no more than just a butler or old man type. Throwing him into this role takes him back to the 1960s' cool all-action Caine, much like an English version of 'Dirty Harry'.

There is excellent dialogue throughout, some of which is actually very funny. It is well acted by all involved, especially by Caine, and Ben Drew (Adulthood), who both have great turns in their respective roles. With a fantastic plot as well, this really is Michael Caine back on top form and it will be interesting to see what both he and director, Daniel Barber, do next.



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