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Harry Brown


Year: 2009 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 18 Cert – Not suitable for under 18s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Daniel Barber 
Starring: Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, Raza Jaffrey  
An image from Harry Brown

The incomparable Michael Caine returns in, reportedly, his last role. Despite his ageing years, he plays one of his career's most interesting characters, in what has been described as the British Gran Torino. As memorable and thrilling as Clint Eastwood’s thrilling film was last year, Harry Brown follows Caine’s eponymous pensioner on a crusade for justice.

After Harry’s friend is murdered by a gang of young people who can only be described as being on the wrong side of an ASBO, Brown begins a vigilante crusade against the scum that populate the streets in his neighbourhood. With the police on his tail, Harry’s quest eventually leads into a remarkable and thrilling climax.

At the heart of this film lies a sincere moral message, underpinned brilliantly by Caine’s performance. The location in South London is superbly construed, with a suitably harsh and unfriendly landscape; a city that truly flips the tourist image of London on its head. A city that lives and breathes, but a city surrounded by death. Violence is frequent, and often very graphic, but appropriate to the narrative as Brown cleaves his way through the gang members who infect the community. He is a sympathetic, but challenging character. We are placed on his side but we question his actions and morality, so much so that upon leaving the cinema, the perplexing ambiguity of the line between right and wrong will stay firmly in the mind.

Both a hugely enjoyable crime thriller, and a film to reflect the current state of the idea of ‘Broken Britain’, if this is truly Michael Caine’s ‘last hurrah’ as a leading man, then it stands as one of the highlights of his career.

Jack Porter

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Screenings of this film:

2009/2010 Spring Term (35mm)
2009/2010 Spring Term (35mm)