Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Harry Brown

Lover: Taken from IMDB
“This film accurately depicts life in modern Britain today. Not the image of a flowing rolling countryside of middle class England which is often depicted in typical international films but one of an inner city "sink" estate - Elephant & Castle in London - with all of its associated problems. I saw the film last night and it brought back all the memories I have of having lived in similar circumstances. Michael Caine is excellent, this is probably one of his best films and I expect film nominations for his role. The film gives a gritty but realistic view of the life most people live on the sink estates of Britain, all are there through no choice of their own, but some are aware of the conditions they are forced to live in. I don't think we'll see the British government promoting this film as it portraits the country in a very bad light, though, if you are not from Britain and would like a taste of what some of us have to put up with I recommend you see this film. Overall, a very well put together film which will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up at times. Well done Michael and all of the team.”

I’ll agree on the acting front and the fact the film has some gritty realism but accurately depicts life in modern Britain? That’s up to you I guess.

Hater: Taken from IMDB
“And the basic moral message of the film is that revenge is cool. It is that sick. This film doesn't reflect modern social ills but rather it actually encourages them. Micheal Cain has no problem in shooting kids without any attempt to arrest them or use non lethal force. He makes himself judge, jury and executioner - exactly as bad as the film tries to show the gang members as being. In one particularly sickening scene he forces a young whimpering lad whose only crime was to witness a killing and lead the boy to his death as a human shield against the other boys. And we are meant to applaud this? Harry Brown is genderist, fascist, classist and racist filth. Do not soil your mind by even watching it.”

The question about applauding this movie is up to the way you view this film, like my friend always used to say “It’s all relative”

What I thought:

Not a week goes by in London without hearing about some stabbing or shooting, whether they are gang related or not. A lot of Londoners, me included have become a little desensitized to this kind of news we hear about it so much. Harry Brown was inevitable, Gran Torino showed us a similar movie, where a geriatric old timer decides to hand out good ol-fashioned justice to the wrong doers. The problem we have here is where the lines are drawn; in one hand we have a dark gritty film that put’s a face to youth and the run down estates. In the other hand we have a revenge tale, less interested in exploring the issues and more interested in gore, violence and sticking it to those ‘bloody hoodies!’.

Harry Brown is an ex-marine (aren’t they all!) whose has already lost more than any man should have to cope with, when the local gang of hoodies stab his only friend it pushes him over the edge. Harry then goes on a trail of destruction, taking down drug dealing rapists, torturing a youth and gunning down another. By this point you know next to nothing about the people standing in the way, the part of this story that is sadder than Harry’s. These young offenders who have been brought up at in the wrong place at the wrong time, some abused and most abandoned, most of these kids aren’t evil people. They are bored with no sense of responsibility for who they hurt, who is really to blame for them; Parents, Teachers, The Government or maybe society itself? The society where a staple of British cinema like Michael Caine Ruthlessly takes them out?

It’s a very blurry film as you may have guessed but that means that it does have its good points, Michael Caine Is brilliant at it, giving a real sense of loss and bereavement and making Harry Brown a completely real character. The scenes where the wannabe gangsters are taken out do come with some relish but it’s a guilty kind of relish, how many times have we heard about someone we know being hurt by these people and wanted to give them more than just a policeman’s justice. It’s that kind of feeling this film plays to most.

Though entertaining enough to watch, Harry Brown is a disappointment, it had a chance to give two sides of a coin. Giving us a poignant display of how harsh modern day Britain can be, instead it’s just a guilty pleasure of a revenge flick with a great central performance.

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"Films are Loved, Films are hated. I'm here to help you decide where you stand..." I also do web work including a good knowledge of HTML, ASP, using the adobe web package and a strong understanding of SEO, Google Analytics.