Saturday, May 1, 2010

Movie with Abe: Harry Brown

Harry Brown
Directed by Daniel Barber
Released April 30, 2010

In the first scene of director Daniel Barber’s feature film debut, two youths race through a decrepit slum of Britain and gun down a mother pushing her baby in a stroller in cold blood. That first act of senseless and grotesque violence sets a tone for the rest of the film as it only escalates further and more innocent people lose their lives as a result of the degrading condition of the youth culture. One man is unprepared to let the situation worsen or persist, however, and that man is Harry Brown, someone from another generation who cannot believe the state of things in the present.

Caine stars as Harry Brown

Star Michael Caine explains that he never saw the movie as a violent film, but instead a film against violence. As a native of the very area in which the film takes place, Caine is extremely aware of the real-life problem that has developed, and he hadn’t realized quite how dangerous it was to be back in his own hometown. He sees vigilante Harry Brown, who sets about to take a stand after his only friend is brutally murdered, as a warning to the government to do something about the young people they’ve left to rot, in his own words. He sees education as the solution, especially for the lower class, but in this fictional story, the only way to fix what’s broken is cold-blooded and cunningly-executed revenge.

Caine discusses the film

Caine is an accomplished veteran with an extensive repertoire of excellent performances over the past forty-five years. At seventy-seven years old, Caine still commands the screen, and it’s his performance that fully carries and embodies the film. It’s a performance reminiscent of that given by Clint Eastwood in “Gran Torino” – a man unwilling to let the world around him deteriorate any further and who remains fiercely able and committed despite his age. As the foil to Caine’s vigilante ex-Marine, the lovely Emily Mortimer portrays a hard-headed but kind-hearted investigator resolutely dedicated to catching the vigilante and serving justice. The interactions of the two of them are mesmerizing, and they seem to share a certain rapport that none of the other people in the film, cop or criminal, possess. They are two people who witness the horrors around them and can’t understand how others continue to let them occur. “Harry Brown” is a furiously disturbing and difficult movie, but troubling as it may be, it’s an impressive, powerful, and worthwhile film.


No comments: