Harry Brown (Michael Cain) is a retired Marine, living in a bad part of town. His wife was diagnosed with cancer and spends her days in the hospital. His best friend Len (David Bradley) has been his loyal companion, playing chess at a local pub. When Harry’s wife dies and his best friend is murdered by local thugs vandalizing the streets where he lives, Harry loses the only connection that is keeping him together. Now a broken man, he seeks revenge on those who have threatened his way of living and have taken that which is dearest to him. Unleashing a darker side of him, one after another must pay for what they have done to his friend Len.
Michael Cain has an incredible repertory when it comes to roles and characters. His talent is undoubtedly one of the best and his illustrious career has taken him to land incredible roles. However, Harry Brown is perhaps Michael Cain’s grittiest and darkest roles I’ve ever seen him play. Harry Brown isn’t a controversial role though and the directional route taken by the director doesn’t exactly help to fully craft its character. Cain’s character is a vigilante who is often questioned by morals on whether he is doing the right thing or not. However, the film never decides what it truly is, is it a drama? Or, is it a thriller? Part of the problem is that it’s advertised as both. While it is not a bad movie, you are quickly wondering in the back of your head what direction the movie is going to go.
Again, the film is filled with questions regarding morality behind each action taken by Harry, which I feel is the real motive behind the film with its main character often questioning his actions and consequences. However, each action, while avenging his friend, seems to leave an emotional consequence on Harry which is excellently portrayed by Michael Cain. Cain’s performance is top notch and there’s nothing to complain about. Incarnating a suffering old man, who after losing the only person that makes him company loses what is keeping him together and decides to take it upon himself to do something, in the most masterful way. The film is tough to watch simply because of the pain and suffering portrayed by the main character. It is quickly noticeable the sort of visuals that viewers will be treated with in the first couple of minutes. It’s raw and intentionally dirty. The grotesque and raw violence should be a clear indication of what the film is intending. As much as you feel the pain on a personal level you will be quickly distraught by the lack of civility left in Harry.
Technically the film is dark, thus explaining the washed out look of the film, perhaps trying to let the viewers get the idea of desolation, frustration, impotency, helplessness, etc. in the nearby surroundings that are being overtaken by violence. This works perfectly as is exactly what the filmmakers want as it sets the foundation for the movie and it gives it that chilling sensation that something is about to happen. Harry Brown is an excellent vigilante movie simply because it fulfills on every level. It’s perfectly executed and the acting is impressive. What little there is to complain about it is quickly overshadowed by grander view of the film.
Harry Brown arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG4-AVC encode framed at 2.35:1. Harry Brown’s is intentionally a dark film that even during daytime scenes the image has a grey tint. Perhaps, is to give that feel of desolation. Moving on, colors aren’t vibrant or vivid, they have a washed out look in order to fit in with the film. Skin tones are natural and lifelike. Black levels are very well reproduced throughout. Fine details are also excellent exhibiting the various nuances in the clothing, buildings, streets, faces, etc. Detailing is excellent even during darker scenes. The picture is clean, sharp and is topped off with a thin layer of grain. Overall, this is a great looking transfer from Sony.
Harry Brown arrives on Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless track. Like the video transfer, the audio transfer is top notch and loud. Dialogue is clean, clear and crisp throughout the film, the reproduction is fantastic. The rears are used constantly for atmospherics, the recreation of all things whether small or big, whispering, distant music, beatings, etc. it’s all clear making the experience all more engrossing. The bass is always present, gun shots rip through the soundstage without a problem, it’s loud, it’s clean, it’s simply fantastic. Various scenes will definitely surprise you by the power they provide. With this being said, Harry Brown is perhaps one of the best tracks I’ve heard in a while. No doubt this is a reference track.
Audio Commentary – This track allows Director Daniel Barber, Producer Kris Thykier and Michael Cain to talk about the movie. It’s not as deep as one would expect, but it is very informative and covers the basic ground of the film for those that need further explanation of the themes used.
Deleted Scenes – There are seven (7) total scenes. Some appear to be extended sequences from the scenes in the movie rather than deleted.
Trailers – Movie trailers for The Square, The Boondock Saints II: All Saint’s Day, Game of Death, A Single Man, The Experiment, and The Road.
Harry Brown is one of those titles that you may never hear about, but once you get a chance to see it you will be left wondering why haven’t you seen it. Harry Brown is raw and violent, but the film really works well on every level. Michael Cain embodies Harry Brown in the most masterful way in one of his most darkest roles. The Blu-ray looks and sounds amazing without a doubt. The supplements are a bit of a let down though. The one comes highly recommended.