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Harry Brown


Stars: Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, Charlie Creed Miles, David Bradley, Iain Glen, Liam Cunningham, Jack O'Connell, Ben Drew

Director: Daniel Barber

Very much a British geriatric Death Wish, this even has Caine photographed from below in exact Charles Bronson style, as he descends in search of his prey. In his case, however, the prospective victims are more specific: the drug runners and young hoodlums who have the residents of his estate living in fear.

At first, widower Harry (Caine, solid as always) is inclined to let the police (led by Mortimer and Creed Miles) handle things. But when his best mate Len (Bradley) is murdered by the local gangs, the 70something ex-Marine decides to do something about it.

He goes to the local drug dealers on the pretext of buying a gun (which he needs anyway), shoots them both and sets fire to their den and its adjoining greenhouse of marijuana plants. Then he sets about his campaign of vengeance - as far as his emphysema will let him.

Slow to develop, the film, though remaining garish and unlikely, does eventually gather momentum and has some impressive scenes of Toxteth-style violence towards the end. The lowlifes Caine sets out to exterminate are all convincingly played, the police somewhat less so.

David Quinlan

UK 2009. UK Distributor: Lionsgate. Colour by deluxe.
101 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 2, Swearing 3.

Review date: 07 Nov 2009