Sunday 25 April 2010

Harry Brown

Watched the new Michael Caine movie Harry Brown last night on DVD. A grim look at modern Britain in a slum-like deck access estate in London, terrorised by drugs gangs. An absolutely brilliant film, with Michael Caine on top form. Even when portraying an underplayed character, an ageing ex-marine whose wife dies from old age near the start of the film, Caine outperforms everyone else.

An interesting comparison between the ineffectual efforts of the police in the film to deal with the violence and criminality on the estate and Caine's reluctant vigilante. A fascinating argument for homeowners to be able and allowed to defend their own property and themselves against the kinds of mindless, gun-toting or knife-wielding thugs that have blemished so many parts of the UK in recent years, especially since, curiously enough, the ability to own handguns legally was ended. The nonsense of the present laws concerning this was highlighted when a young man had to face a police-instigated prosecution for murder because he killed one of two burglars he caught in his mother's home - even though he had already been attacked by one of the two with a knife. And all based on the "testimony" of the scrote who escaped and told lies about what happened. Lies which the police were prepared to believe right up till the last minute (because, of course, you have to believe a fourteen-year-old burglar), when charges were finally dropped. Sometimes I despair about our police. In fact, let's be honest - most times I despair about our police, certainly those in charge of them. Though what can you expect when senior police officers have become so politicised in recent years?

Back to the movie: well worth watching if only for Michael Caine's performance. But it also has a well-written script and some scenes (especially the one in the drug-dealers' den that Caine visits for a gun) would not be out of place in a horror film. Gritty, dark, grimly unromanticised. I enjoyed it.


  1. I watched this last week. I'll say from the get go that I've never been a big Caine fan, but I really enjoyed this film. It was gritty, but poignant, with both solid acting and story line.

  2. Probably not a big fan myself of some of his earlier films, most of which from the 60s and early 70s now look very dated and a bit corny, but he certainly made an impact for me with films like Zulu and the absolutely brilliant Get Carter. More recently, you should catch him in Last Orders and his small, but standout role in Children of Men (talk about scene stealing there!)
    Glad you liked Harry Brown too, Shaun. It surprised me with just how good it was.