“Harry Brown” stars Michael Cain, a respected older actor, who has been acting on stage, television and movies for over 60 years. He has no gaps in his acting resume, in fact his fame has accumulated more so in recent years.
The main premise of the story is that of the vigilante. Vigilante movies are sort of their own sub-category. Other vigilante movies are ones like the “Death Wish” series starring Charles Bronson. A vigilante movie is any movie where someone takes the law into their own hands to avenge a crime, usually killing the perpetrator. Many superhero movies are also vigilante. The “Dirty Harry” series is on the border of a vigilante movie, it is usually considered to be, but that is beside the point.
The question is, can Harry Brown separate itself from all the crappy vigilante movies that come out? The answer is yes. What separates “Harry Brown” from all the other vigilante movies is it’s depiction of violence. There are other key differences like the fact that he is an old man, and he is killing fairly young people.
The opening of the movie shows a shaky cam of two guys on bikes. One is filming with a little camera. They are riding dirt bikes, and when they start shooting guns in a crowded park, the sense of real-ism really hits you. The one holding the camera is the one shooting, and he’s shooting at a mother with a child. After a few shots he shoots her in the head, then rides away and gets hit by a truck. There is no music during this part which again makes it seem more real, silence, extremely loud gunshots, screaming and engines. The shaky cam and other small details make the scene seem very real.
One thing I noticed was how when she is shot you just barely see what happens; you see blood spray, and her head rips open. But you only see it as its leaving the screen and then comes back into frame. This makes much more shocking and somewhat horrifying, to an extent. The realism of the scene is intense. When I saw this movie people screamed at this point, and then went silent in disbelief. That is good film making. Making an audience gag and feel disgusted is no real accomplishment, but a gasp of disbelief IS an accomplishment.
The directing is very good. The movie’s dialogue is very quiet , and polar opposite, all the gunshots or other loud noises, are extremely loud. When a gun fires, you feel it. A bullet will tear right through someone and knock a TV out of the wall, and stop by blowing a hole through a wall. The movie prides itself on realism. Another scene that sticks out, which I think is the highlight of the movie, is where he goes to buy a gun from these two creepy guys. There is an insane amount of tension that just builds and builds. Great film making! It builds until the point where one of the guys has his gun in his mouth using it as a bong, and then Harry takes them out.
The depiction of violence is what separates this movie from others. This also makes the film more than just an okay. It’s realism gritty intense violence, great sound design, and great directing all make the movie so much more. My rating: 8/10 A very good movie
- Harry Brown (mrmovietimes.com)
- Harry Brown: The Movie In Which Alfred Turns Into Bloody Batman [Movie Night] (gizmodo.com)
- Why did ‘Harry Brown’ tank at b.o.? (kylesmithonline.com)