Harry Brown. It is a plain, very English name. It calls to mind the likes of the traditional taciturn English heroes. The movie is very much like the lead character – plain, understated, slow and steady. The character of Harry Brown (Michael Caine) embodies all that was once great about English and the English people. Both in age, moral character and disposition Brown stands in sharp contrast to the modern self-aggrandizing, brash and lazy lot that surround him in the council estate in which he lives.
It would be easy to dismiss Harry Brown as just another retelling of Death Wish or some kind of post modern western set in an English council estate but that would be mostly off the mark. What the movie does owe to the classic Hollywood Western is a laconic pacing that would make Ridley Scott proud. The set up is simple enough. Harry Brown, a retired Royal Marine, in his declining years lives on a council estate (public subsidized housing) and meets at the local pub with a long time friend to have a drink and play a game of chess. His friend is killed and Harry takes revenge.
If that were all there is to it this would still be a good movie. It is an above average movie because there are moments in the movie where if you listen closely you hear that some of the criminals in this movie are almost as much victims of their circumstance as Harry/’s friend. In addition to great pacing, a strong script, Caine/’s brilliant performance the rest of the cast is wonderfully understated and practially perfect. Harry Brown is a movie that is a must see.