When his friend is murdered by a bunch of swaggering arrogant hoodies who terrorise a run-down South London sink estate, ex-marine Harry Brown turns vigilante to exact revenge on the thugs that killed his pal.
The first 30 minutes of Harry Brown are infused with the kind of bleakness that has come to symbolise 13 years of Labour Government. We see Harry living a lonely and mundane life by himself in his tiny flat and afraid of taking the underpass to visit his comatose wife in hospital because of the gang that hangs out there and harasses anyone who ventures by. With only the local pub and his friend for company, you can’t help but feel empathy for Harry and it’s a great performance by Michael Caine.
Similarly, the revolting gang of violent teenage thugs and drug dealers will be instantly familiar to anyone in London who has seen the type of mumbling idiot hoodie chavs who hang around McDonalds or fried chicken joints and can’t string two sentences together. You’ll relish the scenes where Caine metes out his own brand of justice.
I was expecting the character of Harry Brown to be far more violent than he actually is but this is not Death Wish and the more shocking scenes are the violence meted out by the gang and drug dealers. A gritty Brit flick then that beautifully captures the desolation of a decent man driven to take the law into his own hands but also one that sags badly whenever Caine is not on screen.