// release date: 22 Mar 2010 certificate: 18 // director: Daniel Barber studio: // film length Lions Gate/99 mins reviewer: Stephen Markley
What can be said about Harry Brown? Its gritty depiction of urban gang violence on an inner London council housing estate with the underling tension, violence and the fear of violence is close to the mark. I grew up on the boarders of Broadwater Farm (the Farm) in the 70’s and 80’s at the time when there was racial tension between the police and the inhabitants of the said farm, which ended with the explosion of the riots and lives were lost. I understand the depravation and desolate hopelessness of these rundown estates and all that come with it. This is my starting point in life but I ended somewhere completely different, I was lucky, most won’t be!
Harry Brown (Michael Cane) is a law abiding citizen living with the fear of violence on a housing estate (Elephant and Castle) that a ruthless gang of youths has taken control of. His wife dies after a long illness and then his friend Lenard (David Bradley) who has been terrorised by the gang is brutally murdered by them and the police are unable to pin it to anyone even though they are sure who done it. These losses, the police inability to arrest anyone and finally an attack on him by a drug addict culminate in Harry Brown lawful citizen and ex-marine turning into Harry Brown vigilante, a’la Charles Broson in Death Wish and mayhem ensues. Ok! I said right at the beginning of this piece it got close to the mark. This is where fantasy meets reality and that’s ok too, it is a film after all, you know what I mean Harry?