30 April 2010

Harry Brown

Directed by: Daniel Barber
Written by: Gary Young
Full credits at IMDb

In interviews, Michael Caine and director Barber have blamed the state of Kids Today on a failure of social institutions: education, housing, the foster care system. Their guilt might be liberal, but that doesn't stop it from manifesting itself as hysterically conservative in the pleasurable but bonkers Harry Brown, a rightwing revenge fantasy gussied up in a social-realism aesthetic. Caine plays the title character, a classic Liam Neeson role give-or-take ten or twenty years: a widowed, emphysemic pensioner who lives as a prisoner of sorts in his East End housing project, overrun with terrorizing young people addicted to drugs and for-the-hell-of-it violence—the kinds of kids who'll spit in your face, shove shit through your letterbox, smash your car window, kick the crap out of you, light your apartment on fire and then kill you if you complain. (Nights evoke The Omega Man stripped of its camp.) Brown becomes fed-up when his last friend is murdered and, finding no help from the police (of course!), transforms frustration into fury; a vigilante is born accidentally. 

You could call it Brown Begins, a kind of non-super hero's unlikely origins story.

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