Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Harry Brown (2009)

Harry Brown is a movie I wanted to see when it came out, but never got around to it.  I was thrilled when it released this week on DVD.  With Michael Cain as the main character I wondered how this movie didn't do as well as it should have.  Say anything about Michael Cain he always gives his A game in a film.  The man could read Webster's dictionary and make it a good performance.  Harry Brown is Daniel Barber's second feature, and he comes out of the gate swinging with this one.  A film about revenge and growing old is what the film Harry Brown is all about, yet it plays on so many other levels too.

After Harry's (Cain) best and only friend  (David Bradley) is murdered Harry takes on the hoods that have taken over his neighborhood.  I know "visions of Charles Bronson in "Death Wish" come to mind, but "Harry Brown is a different movie.  This film is not heavy on dialogue.  Cain's face portrays his character in this movie.  The loneliness, the desperation, and the anger, and the sadness is written in Cain's performance of the character. 

The movie is violent when it gets going, but it does not portray violence for violence sake.  It's dirty, and filthy.  The filmmaker makes a point about today's society without hitting us over the head or becoming too dogmatic.  I really liked Cain's performance in this film.  At 77 years of age Cain can out perform any other actor of his day or of today's actor.  He's fresh and he plays his part so close to the vest.  You can feel his pain, and his loss.  It's not over acted and over dramatized.

I've been a fan of Cain's since The Ipcress File and he has never disappointed.  Anyone who is interested in Cain's acting should read his book: "Michael Caine - Acting in Film: An Actor's Take on Movie Making (The Applause Acting Series) Revised Expanded"  In it he gets very matter of fact about acting and film making.

If you want to see a good film with a good performance by a veteran actor watch Harry Brown.  I would also be amiss in not pointing out the performances of Emily Mortimer, and Charlie Creed-Miles who play the two detective assigned to investigate Harry's friends murder.

The film is a very entertaining and well acted piece of cinema.  On one level you enjoy it for the stories sake, but on another level you really feel for the characters in the film, and for what the film is trying to say.  This is another jewel in the crown of Michael Cain's career and one that should not be overlooked.

No comments: