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Harry Brown - Blu-ray Review

4 stars


Harry Brown Blu-ray Review

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Old man fights back. Clint Eastwood did it a couple of years back in Gran Torino, now one of the other legends of cinema, Sir Michael Caine, is playing a crotchety old beggar who’s fed up with the state of his neighbourhood and does something about it.

Set in a U.K. low income housing estate, Harry Brown depicts Caine as a very lonely old man whose days include visiting his wife (on death’s door in hospital and unaware of his presence), and playing chess with his only friend in the local pub. His misery, and that of his friend’s, is only compounded by the fact his apartment complex and neighbourhood is rife with crime of the worst order—thanks to the youthful gangs that plague the area.

When his wife dies and his friend is murdered by the local hoods, things change for Harry. It becomes obvious to him that the police’s hands are tied, that his friend’s case will never be given justice, and that he and his neighbours will never be safe, so Harry decides to bring about his own version of justice. But he is no ordinary codger; as a former marine, the old dog still has some new tricks, and very quickly and efficiently the tables start to turn on the bad guys.

These stories are not original by any stretch of the imagination, so it comes down to the lead to encourage you to follow that well-trodden trail. Unsurprisingly, Caine is every bit as watchable as he always is. There is real effort made to sympathize with this man’s life before he unleashes bloody vengeance; he is likable, pitiable, and, dare I say, forgivable for his transgressions.

Equally three-dimensional are the supporting cast (at least on the good guy’s side), especially Emily Mortimer’s character: a D.C (detective) who goes in with all the best intentions to clean things up and realises her hands are tied all too late in the game. The bad guys are not as fully realized as the good guys, but then that really isn’t their function: their function is to repulse you and to make you want them to suffer, and in that context they are highly successful. Still, it might have made the film even better had there been some confliction in the evil one’s motives instead of simply being nasty bits of work.

The violence, when it comes, is visceral and very bloody. If you don’t like your showdowns confronting, then this is not for you. This reviewer found it to be an asset to the film; it effectively conveyed the meaningless brutality of this area and the consequences of it to all who live there.

The music is understated, as is the cinematography and production design. There is verite start to the film that is almost replicated through the rest of it, despite there being staged shots after the opening. You feel Harry’s loneliness, the repulsive surroundings, and the rank flesh of the drugged-out villains. It is a truly immersive flick because of its post-production subtlety as much as its confronting story.

Caine continues to prove why he is the legend he is, and can still hold your attention well into his twilight. This film is a very impressive revenge flick, not because it’s original by any stretch, but because it knows the template well and inserts premium elements to tell its version.


Component Grades
Movie
Blu-ray Disc
4 stars
4 stars
Blu-ray Experience
4 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - August 31, 2010
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); BD-Live; movieIQ

Supplements:

Commentaries:

  • Director Daniel Barber, Producer Kris Thykier, and Actor Michael Caine.

Deleted Scenes (1080p, 17:08):

  • Seven scenes that did'nt make the final cut.

BD-Live functionality

MovieIQ connectivity

Trailers: 1080p trailers for The Experiment, The Square, The Boondock Saints II: All Saint's Day, Game of Death, A Single Man, and The Road.

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