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Friday, May 28, 2010

Harry Brown

The film director Daniel Barber is all over the place in terms of tone, rhythm and style. But there is Caine at its center, blasting away. Not because he wants to, yes, but because he believes he has to. Sick, lonely, so lonely, Caine plays Harry as a decent man forced to do things indecent. Whether that justifies killing people, acting as judge, jury and executioner, is not something that obviously concerned Barber to deepen, rather than relying on someone as innately Caine root for, even when he's pulling the trigger.

Harry lives alone in a housing estate, his wife dying in the hospital. young thugs roam the area. In the opening scene amplified-up, Hairdresser's still a rite of passage: shooting a young mother who stands by your baby's car. Harry's best friend, Leonard (David Bradley), who is with him every night for a pint in the pub, is becoming more fearful of violence and must carry a knife.

Big mistake. Leonard suddenly is dead, and Harry is threatened to be. But Harry served in Northern Ireland and will not go quietly.

A first meeting leads to a trip to a gun dealer seedy, a nightmarish scene that includes hit out watching porn addicts, an unconscious woman drooling on the couch with a needle protruding from his arm. Barber does not spare you the details, giving the scene a bad side, take home roughly how sordid this particular world.

Soon Harry is cleaning the neighborhood. A scene in which a violent punk walk through a tunnel with a chain around his neck, Harry uses it as a belt is ridiculous, on top, and yet some kind of fantastic.

Emily Mortimer plays a detective who suspects what's going on, but can not convince his superiors, or anyone else for that matter. Harry treats her well enough, but is not too concerned with what you know or what you plan to do with that knowledge. He does not care about anything, really, other than to finish what he started.


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