Harry Brown (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Daniel Barber|
|Produced by||Matthew Vaughn |
|Written by||Gary Young|
|Starring||Michael Caine |
|Music by||Martin Phipps |
|Editing by||Joe Walker|
|Studio||Marv Partners |
UK Film Council
|Distributed by||Lionsgate UK|
|Release date(s)|| |
|Running time||103 minutes|
Harry Brown is a 2009 British crime thriller film directed by Daniel Barber and starring Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, Jack O'Connell, and Liam Cunningham. The story follows Harry Brown, a widowed Royal Marines veteran, who had served in Northern Ireland during The Troubles, living on an Elephant and Castle housing estate that is rapidly descending into youth crime; Harry fights fire with fire after a friend is murdered.
The film also features actor and artist Plan B who, with Chase & Status, is also responsible for the film's theme music track "End Credits." Harry Brown had its World Premiere as a "Special Presentation" at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival and was released theatrically in the United Kingdom by Lionsgate UK on 11 November 2009; the film was released in the United States by Samuel Goldwyn Films and Destination Films on 30 April 2010. The film was mainly filmed on and around the mostly abandoned Heygate Estate in Walworth, London; which was due to be demolished in late 2010.
Harold "Harry" Brown (Michael Caine), an elderly former Royal Marine currently living in a council estate ruled by violent gangs, spends most of his time playing chess with his best friend, Leonard "Len" Attwell (David Bradley) and visiting his hospitalised and comatose wife, Katherine, who suddenly dies from complications. Harry is late to see her before she dies because he is too scared to take the quicker underpass route, where a gang resides. His wife is laid to rest next to the grave of their thirteen year old daughter, Rachel, who passed away in 1973.
After her funeral, Len confides in Harry that he is being terrorised by some youths and shows Harry an old bayonet he now carries to defend himself, citing that the police would not help him and he plans on taking justice into his own hands. The next day, Harry is visited by Detective Inspector Alice Frampton (Emily Mortimer) and Detective Sergeant Terence "Terry" Hicock (Charlie Creed-Miles), who tell him that Len had been murdered by a local gang led by Noel Winters (Ben Drew). After Len's funeral, Harry is held at knife-point by Dean Saunders (Lee Oakes), an addict and suspect in Len's murder, whom he stabs in self defence during a brief struggle. Frampton visits Harry again the following morning and informs him that because Len was killed with his own bayonet, any charges laid could be reduced to manslaughter on the basis of self-defence.
Harry decides to take matters into his own hands; he follows a drug dealer named Kenny (Joseph Gilgun) to a squalid den where he negotiates to buy a pistol. Inside, Harry finds Kenny and his associate, Stretch (Sean Harris) are also growing cannabis and are sexually abusing a currently overdosing girl (Klariza Clayton) to make pornography. When Harry suggests calling an ambulance for the girl, Stretch threatens Harry, and he kills the dealers in retaliation, before burning down their den and leaving with the girl and some firearms.
After leaving the girl outside a hospital, Harry captures one of Noel's gang members named Marky (Jack O'Connell), who is being sexually abused by Troy Martindale, a heroin kingpin. Harry shoots and kills Martindale and captures Marky, whom he tortures into revealing some mobile phone camera footage of Len's murder, proving the gang's aggressive involvement. Harry uses Marky to bait Noel and Carl (Jamie Downey), another gang member, into a gunfight in the underpass. Carl is killed by Harry, and Marky is killed in the crossfire between Harry and Noel. After Marky is killed, Noel flees the underpass, with Harry in pursuit, before Harry collapses due to an emphysema attack.
Convinced that the recent gang deaths are related to a gang war rather than Harry, Police Superintendent Childs (Iain Glen) orders a major arrest operation on the estate, which then leads to a massive riot. Harry discharges himself from hospital to pursue Noel, which results in Frampton and Hicock being in a car crash when they attempt to stop him. Harry rescues them and takes them to a nearby pub, where Frampton warns Harry that Sidney "Sid" Rourke (Liam Cunningham), the bartender, is actually Noel's uncle. Harry discovers that Sid had been hiding Noel, but his guard drops due to his emphysema, allowing Sid to take the gun and reveal that he plans on killing Harry and the officers to protect Noel. Frampton tries to call for backup, only to be stopped midway by Noel, who is told to strangle her after Sid suffocates an unconscious Hicock. After Harry draws a revolver and shoots Noel, Sid shoots and wounds Harry, only to be shot by Frampton's backup in the form of police snipers, which had picked up on her interrupted call.
At a conference held after the riot, Superintendent Childs announces that Frampton and the late Hicock will be given medals for their work and sacrifice, and denies any evidence of vigilante involvement in the entire case, saying that any such suggestions are unhelpful. The final scene is of a recovered Harry walking towards the underpass, now free and safe to walk through.
- Michael Caine as Harold "Harry" Brown
- Emily Mortimer as Alice Frampton
- Charlie Creed Miles as Detective Sergeant Terence "Terry" Hicock
- David Bradley as Leonard Attwell
- Ben Drew as Noel Winters
- Sean Harris as Stretch
- Jack O'Connell as Marky
- Jamie Downey as Carl
- Lee Oakes as Dean Saunders
- Joseph Gilgun as Kenneth "Kenny" Soames
- Liam Cunningham as Sidney "Sid" Rourke
- Iain Glen - Superintendent Childs
- Klariza Clayton as Sharon "Shaz" Thompson
- Liz Daniels as Katherine "Kath" Brown
Harry Brown was met with mixed reviews. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 66% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 113 reviews, with an average score of 6.1/10, critical consensus being, "Its lurid violence may put off some viewers, but Harry Brown is a vigilante thriller that carries an emotional as well as a physical punch, thanks to a gripping performance from Michael Caine in the title role." Empire gave the film four stars out of five, The Sunday Times awarded it one; GQ magazine gave the film five stars out of five, calling it "truly awesome". News of the World gave the film four out of five, The Daily Mail said "finally a film that really matters...Brilliant", and Shortlist called it "the best British film of the year". The Times gave the film three stars but considered it "morally and politically repugnant". The Sunday Times was less positive: "It’s too daft to pass muster as action-movie hokum, let alone as social commentary." Cinema Blend raved the film, saying "Caine pours every ounce of himself into Harry, and the payoff is massive... There’s nothing more fulfilling than seeing a compelling story brought to life by standout performances and then further enhanced by stellar directing." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three stars out of four, and called the film "...a revenge thriller poised somewhere between Death Wish and Gran Torino." As of December 20, 2009 the film had earned $6,649,562 domestically, opening against 2012 and Disney's A Christmas Carol. As of August 8, 2010, total worldwide gross was nearly $10 million including $1,818,681 in the United States, where it opened against A Nightmare on Elm Street.
- Barnes, Ruth (2009-10-13). "Caine's chill out". BBC 6 Music. BBC.
- "Video Chase & Status ft Plan B - End Credits van Chase and Status - Myspace Video". Vids.myspace.com. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
- "Harry Brown (2009)|tiffreviews.com".
- "Movies filmed in | Enjoy the best film locations in with filmaps". Filmaps.com. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
- Peter Walker "South London's Heygate estate mourned by locals – and Hollywood", The Guardian, 3 September 2010
- "Rotten Tomatoes". Retrieved 2010-09-05.
- "Harry Brown Film Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2010-05-28.
- "Harry Brown Review". CinemaBlend.com. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
- Roger Ebert (April 28, 2010). "Harry Brown (review)". Chicago Sun Times.
- Official website
- Harry Brown at AllRovi
- Harry Brown at Box Office Mojo
- Harry Brown at the Internet Movie Database
- Harry Brown at Rotten Tomatoes