WHEN police are restrained by laws allowing a suspect’s right to silence, victims and others are motivated to take the law it into their own hands.
Aged pensioner Harry Brown (Michael Caine) an ex-Royal Marine who served in Northern Island, lives a miserable life in one of London’s crumbling public housing blocks of high-rise flats.
His aged pensioner best friend (in fact, his only friend), Len (David Bradley), is killed by a gang of teenage hoodies who terrorise the neighbourhood.
Irritated by the police’s attitude, Harry uses his military experience to fix the problem, once and for all.
While this is not Caine’s Gran Torino, All or Nothing or Death Wish, it’s definitely one of his best performances, but all in vain, as it is for Emily Mortimer and Charlie Creed-Miles, who play a police Detective Inspector and her Detective Sergeant respectively, trying to solve Len’s murder.
The problem is the script.
Having introduced us to whom and what the leading players are and do, it then becomes farcical.
The film was directed by Daniel Barber (whose only other film, a short, The Tonto Woman, was nominated for an Oscar at the 2008 Academy Awards), who does a good job up against a headwind of inadequate material.
While the writer wanted to raise some valid points on the problems of London’s high-rise public housing, the loneliness of old people, the restrictions under which police have to operate and the internal politics within police forces, this wasn’t really the forum to air them.
This is a very dark movie with no let-ups, few light moments, but with a polished production look.
HARRY Brown (MA15+)
Directed by: Daniel Barber
Starring: Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer
Rating: Three stars