You Cannot Look Away: Harry Brown & Outrage

Right. You cannot look away. Don’t we all have a fascination with revenge on the one hand, and the internecine battles between hoodlums, mobsters, gangsters, assorted members of Organized Crime families, and even the Yakuza, on the other hand. We can’t say with certainty that films like the Charles Bronson Death Wish series or The Godfather trilogy started the trend, or that The Sopranos made killing so fashionably entertaining, sorry – fascinating. But we can use those visual mediums as the mileposts on the long highway of cinematic and broadcast mayhem.

Michael Caine who most of us have come to love in his various incarnations over his more than 50 years as an actor in films, has played many kinds of roles –¬† like a spy (The Ipcress File), a ladies’ man (Alfie), a gangster (Get Carter) or even a gentlemanly con-man (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) to name but a few of his most iconic and memorable, now appears as the titular character in Harry Brown.

Caine/Brown plays a British ex-marine living out his retirement years in South London in what they call an estate in the film. We might call it an apartment block, or even more accurately – a housing project. Not too long into the film, we learn that Harry is a brand new widower, and then, he’s going to lose his best and only friend to the neighborhood ‘kids’, and that the neighborhood is going bad, and quickly.

The neighborhood values have changed to a degree ...

So Harry whose life was a daily pint or two of ale and a quiet game of chess with his buddy at the local pub … now has lost even that. From his direct view of the goings on from his 3rd story flat – the picture is decidedly bleak. But the film posters and the taglines tell us everything we need to know about what will happen:

  • ¬†Every man has a breaking point.
  • The law has limits. He doesn’t.
  • One man will take a stand.

Harry Brown: What's all this about? D.I. Frampton: I'm sorry to have to tell you this but Mr. Attwell is dead...

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