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Mixed or average reviews - based on 35 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 64 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Set in modern day Britain, Harry Brown follows one man's journey through a chaotic world where teenage violence runs rampant. As a modest, law abiding citizen, Brown lives alone. His only companion is his best friend Leonard. When Leonard is killed, Brown reaches his breaking point. (Samuel Goldwyn Films) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 35
  2. Negative: 4 out of 35
  1. Reviewed by: Mark Dinning
    80
    Essential stuff, even by the big man's considerable standards.
  2. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    75
    This portrait of the soldier as an old man is deeply moving.
  3. 75
    This movie plays better than perhaps it should. Directed as a debut by Daniel Barber, it places story and character above manufactured "thrills" and works better.
  4. Gritty and compelling up to a point, but cheaply exploitive as well.
  5. Part punk-drab British art-house portrait of underclass despair, part bloody vigilante pic, Harry Brown is shakily held together by industrial-strength sound design and the expertly employed theatrics of Michael Caine in the title role.
  6. The stark direction, the brittle performances, the impoverished setting, the scatological dialogue, everything about the film screams out "Gritty social realism." Everything, that is, except the plot, which shouts "Eye-rolling melodrama."
  7. Caine acts dignified throughout, but there's no way to dignify dreck.

See all 35 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 16
  2. Negative: 2 out of 16
  1. DaveJ.
    May 3, 2010
    10
    I really enjoyed this movie. Michael Caine is great! Go see it!
  2. Aug 29, 2011
    10
    Excellent film, with a strong, interesting plot of the film with realistic features of the film. This film has great acting by Michael Caine and is defiantly a stimulating thriller worth watching. Expand
  3. Sep 6, 2010
    9
    This is Michael Caine at his finest. If you like vigilante movies, you'll love this one. It's dark and violent, so be prepared. Good acting throughout. Expand
  4. qwerty
    May 3, 2010
    8
    Michael Caine has still got it! Definitely worth a look.
  5. Oct 11, 2010
    8
    A great British film with some good acting, especially from Michael Caine. He plays his role well and in ways invites the audience to sympathise with him. Expand
  6. Sep 23, 2013
    7
    Harry Brown is a sick film innit?

    Michael Caine plays the titular character Harry Brown a disgruntled O.A.P. widower who after hearing the
    news of his friends death at the hands of local thugs takes matters into his own hands.

    The back story informs the audience that Harry was in the marines and stationed in Northern Ireland during the troubles. This handles the notion that Harry Brown can be adept w/ a weapon and be able to kill.

    He lives alone and keeps a picture of his wife and deceased child by his bedside and his loneliness and isolation is represented by his hand on the pillow where his wife would lay if she was alive.

    In fact Harry misses the last minutes of his wife's life as he had to circumvent the subway en route to the hospital due to the presence of local thugs.

    To make matters worse these local thugs are also harassing his best friend who he plays chess w/ in the local dingy pub. Ultimately this will result in his friends death and result in Harry's switch to vigilantism.

    The film is directed by newcomer Daniel Barber who had previously directed some award winning short. The film has a gritty realism which includes hand-held shots. Some of the exterior shots are lovely evoking the feel of Loach, Leigh etc

    However the interior shots are a lot more clichéd and shot in desaturated colours of brown and green etc they work well in the normal environments but the drug den for instance is overkill on the cliché. Ultimately the style is to look as grimy and mundane and atypical of an urban lifestyle.

    Michael Caine gives the lead character gravitas and a world weariness which makes his descent into brutal revenge that little bit more convincing despite some of the ludicrous set pieces.

    The film is excessively violent and might actually deter the audience it is aimed at which is the type of person who reads The Daily Mail and exclaims how the world has gone to pot and how something must be done but not doing anything themselves. In that respect it has become a wish-fulfilment movie and exploitation movie for the kitchen table newspaper reader.

    No problems with that but there have been recent movies such as Gran Torino and Dead Man's Shoes which deal w/ the idea of vigilantism, turf war and the nature of revenge in a more stylish and thoughtful manner. This is more like Death Wish in its approach.

    The fact that Harry brown isn't made accountable for his actions no matter how justified the audience feels is a tiny bit suspect on the writers approach.

    Overall an entertaining movie which is well shot if unoriginal and can often delve into ludicrousness especially in its depiction of violence which almost tapers towards the Tarantinoesque.

    The film doesn't explain the causes or symptoms of gang infested tenements but it's kind of implied that poverty, drugs (footage of some crack pipe action) and negligent parents (Plan B's mother is ineffective and defensive of her son's actions) are all factors in this cycle of crime.

    One last thing Plan B is excellent he plays an obnoxious chav w/ relish and his affectionless psychopathy is pretty nauseating. I didn't realise it was him until I saw the end credits.
    Expand
  7. Apr 13, 2011
    1
    Disappointing, outlandish and barely credible, this formless film hinges on an unlikely and morally suspect "Broken Britain" theme, where plucky old men have no choice but to fight back against local toughs in the only language they understand - extreme violence with guns. Emily Mortimer never fails to annoy but here she's also poorly cast as a police detective whose sheer helplessness and apathetic limpness is infuriating. Michael Caine should really know better, but given that he recently endorsed David Cameron, he clearly doesn't. The effect is unremittingly bleak and depressing, without having any redemptive qualities, and certainly without coming across as representing any kind of true vision of Britain. It sounds trivial, but the fundamental procedural mistakes made by Mortimer's character finally torpedo the entire sorry exercise. Expand

See all 16 User Reviews

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