It’s fair to say that if Michael Caine appears on the credits of a film, chances are it’s a safe bet it’s going to be pretty decent. In fact, half the actors only agreed to partake in this film because he was in it. Nuff said. But the WitWitWoo is skeptical. And needs to stop talking about herself in the 3rd person. Moving on …
Take Gran Turino – someone, please take Gran Turino! (Boom Boom!) An almost identical storyline. Ex-military vigilante pensioner takes on the local scumbag youths terrorizing the neighbourhood (as you do) but even Clint Eastwood couldn’t save this film. I got suckered in on the premise he’d also directed the film and, Million Dollar Baby being one of my all-time favourite films, I mistakingly thought everything Mr Eastwood touched turned to gold. Not so. The acting was hammy, the ‘authentic street’ dialogue was just one racist remark after another and, by the end, I wanted to rip my eyes out so I didn’t have to watch it anymore.
Now you can see why I approached Harry Brown with trepidation. I needn’t have worried. Harry Brown is not a “violent film” but a “film about violence.” Don’t be fooled by the doddery, poignant start. Or by Michael Caine’s anorak. Underneath his zip up cardigan is a man driven to kill by overwhelming grief and the enormous injustice doled out to his elderly friend. Fair enough.
The violence is hard to stomach at times but the film doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. It’s gritty, very, very real and not for the faint hearted, but the great acting, from the legendary Mr Caine to the lowlife junkie dealers, allows the view to feel totally immersed in a world I thankfully don’t have to live in.
On this occasion, Harry Brown kicked Clint Eastwood’s butt.