|April 30, 2010|
|Action, Adventure, Foreign, Thriller
Rated R for strong violence and language throughout, drug use and sexual content
Harry Brown is a revenge drama following in the footsteps of the Clint Eastwood picture, Gran Torino. Michael Caine delivers an (as usual) stunning performance as the man on the mission, Harry Brown, who after losing his wife to sickness and best friend to a gang uprising, reaches his “breaking point”.
If there are two bookends to the spectrum of revenge dramas, Gran Torino being the passive end and The Punisher being the aggressive end, Harry Brown falls smack dab in the middle. Not killing everyone but definitely not taking aggressive action, Harry Brown is almost unsettling in that more revenge is not taken. Caine, showing signs of his age, may not be suited to a Thomas Jane rampage, but yet, only a few men dying in the name of revenge is hardly revenge at all.
With a lackluster twist and ridiculously excessive uprising of local gangs versus SWAT (who apparent are passive rather than aggressive), complete with Molotov cocktails and utter anarchy, the only elements saving the film from complete destruction are the performances from Michael Caine and Emily Mortimer. Mortimer proves effective in the role as the detective, showing all the right emotions at all the right times. Though , at times, she is immobilized by the restraints of the plot, she is able to rise above and delivers a worthwhile performance.
The film effectively causes you to think about the state that the world is currently in. The line that best describes the nature of the film is a line shared with Caine & Mortimer regarding Caine’s revengeful actions, stating that this is not Northern Ireland and Caine is no longer a Marine. Caine responds that Mortimer is right, because at least in Northern Ireland they were fighting for something, unlike the gangs that cause destruction out of boredom.
Instead of begging for multiple viewings, Harry Brown begs you to watch one of the films at any other end of the spectrum. Harry Brown is not a black mark on the actors’ or director’s resume by any means, but still opens a desire for wanting more out of the film as a whole. However, Brown still proves that Caine still has some great performances left in him and can carry a film completely by himself, rather than just cameo his way through the remainder of his career.