Never a frown with Harry Brown
, 27 Oct 2009
MARV (Matthew Vaughn & Kris Thykier's production company) produces one of the best British thrillers I've seen in a very long while. It's quite literally a heart pounding roller coaster of a ride, having managed to jump out my skin a good number of times during the course of the film. It takes a lot to shock me, but this film provided it in spades.
At first glance the concept of a vigilante OAP going around murdering feral teenagers who killed his best pal Leonard seems a little ridiculous. But Gary Young's screenplay delivers a fine story - starting with Harry padding around his council flat alone, waiting for his wife to recover from a stroke. When she dies, he only has Leonard left for company. But Leonard is growing ever more concerned about the feral teenagers hanging around their council estate, with drug dealers opening dealing their wares in the very pub that the two OAPs are drinking (and playing chess) in.
It eventually gets a bit too much for Leonard who vows to deal with the teenagers himself, after almost being killed by somebody setting fire to old rags pushed through his letterbox. Having taken an old bayonet given to him by his father when he was small, Leonard finally ends up dead having confronted a group of boys in an underpass near the estate. This sets off a series of events which eventually sees Harry, a former marine, extract revenge from the gang that killed his friend.
It's a wonderfully shot film. The cinematography is excellent. The colour grading in particular gives a washed out, grey look, which perfectly matches the mood of the story. Music is put to good use, but similarly taken away when it's (not) needed, which made me extremely nervous at times. The shocks themselves come thick and fast in places, and even I was sweating (my hands clenched) at a couple of points as I just had no idea where things were going to go. The performances are top notch, and the whole thing is superbly directed by Daniel Barber.
In short, Harry Brown is one tight thriller. It provides an intense, heart pounding drama that will make even the most hardened viewer jump out their seat once or twice. The riot sequence is one of the most violent that I've seen committed to film. The special effects are really well executed.
Go see this film. It's not the feint of heart, but if you like a good thriller with some unexpected twists and turns, then Harry Brown is for you. Highly original, highly entertaining.
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