The plot to Harry Brown
is simple: a retired widower and former British Royal Marine spends his twilight days playing chess with his friend Leonard. The two have seen their town fall into the lawless and debauchery of drugs and violence. When a gang of drug dealers, led by a little bastard named Noel, kill his friend, Harry decides to kick some ass and pop some caps. A savvy police detective named Alice and her partner Terry begin to suspect that Brown is behind the vigilante style justice after the corpses hit the floor.
As an American, I can say this is a quiet masterpiece on this side of the pond. But I sure hope that in the UK and Europe it has been recognized as great.
The acting in this movie was one of the most impressive I've seen, not only by the legendary Sir Michael Caine
, but also by the rest of the supporting cast. I'm sure most Americans know Michael Caine and some might recognize Emily Mortimer
from Shutter Island and Lars and the Real Girl. But you have to watch this movie, or "film" as the Brits say.
Like I said, the performances are incredible, especially from Sean Harris
, who plays Stretch, albeit a somewhat minor character. He nails it playing the itchy, gritty, druggie so well I felt like my stomach lurch and churn watching him. Ben Drew
, a musician/rapper also familiar to the Brits, in my opinion plays a fantastic part as Noel, the gang leader.
I also loved the ambiance of this movie, very dark and gray, capturing the haze and lawlessness of a world whose veins pump drugs, not blood. Though, I could see how some may think it's too much or too overwhelming, given the murders and abusive pr0n playing in the background of a drug den (I didn't love that part).
Alas, this gem only received a 68% on RottenTomatoes. And there's no doubt that the cynics will label this as a English or European "Gran Turino," because another old man takes justice into his own hands. After glancing through some of the reviews on RT, I believe that Brown
attained such mixed reviews because of the explicit violence and the slightly unoriginal, vigilante-esque storyline. Regardless, I will still stand by the performances by the actors even if the story is a little meh. Just watch it. It's under two hours in length and loaded with thespian greatness.Do you have a favorite British movie?