I just watched the movie “Harry Brown” on DVD. It was a pretty good “death Wish” style lone vigilante flick, with Michael Caine as an elderly badass out to take care of some murderous yobs (or is it Chavs? Hard to keep my Englandlanderish lingo straight). It is largely a formulaic flick, but still pretty good.
I had been looking forward to seeing this when it came out back in April. But… it never came out. Certainly nowhere near where I live. According to Box Office Mojo, it did a dismal $1.8 million in the US… largely because it apparently didn’t open much of *anywhere.* According to IMDB, it opened on a grand total of 19 screens in the US. A dismal marketting effort for what was a pretty good movie.
But what’s bad about it is the culture shown on the “estate” (which appears to be the equivalent of what Americans would call “The Projects,” and then we’d shudder… some of us would also cross themselves, spit and mutter prayers). I’ve heard that there is a noticable population of feral younguns over yonder; this movie focusses on them. My question, for those who live in the Uk and have seen the movie… within the bounds of the usual distortions produced for the needs of drama in movies, is this areasonably accurate portrayal? Fortunately for me, the DVD came complete with subtitles, which I needed when the feral dumbasses were on screen mushing their way through what passed for speech. I can certainly believe that such a ruined and terrible form of life exists… I saw the Washington, D.C. equivalent of them a few years ago. In both cases I had trouble understanding what they were saying… partly accent, but mostly because in both cases the English language had been reduced to odd idioms liberally sprinkled with expletives (in both cases, pretty much always the *same* expletive). It kinda makes your brain hurt a little to try to think down to that level.
When “A Clockwork Orange” came out, I understand that people saw it as somewhat fantastical. The feral monsters in “A Clockwork Orange” would have their asses handed to them by those in “Harry Brown.”
Caine does an excellent job in this movie. You’ve seen the basic plot before… guy suffers tragedies and losses at the hands of street crime, cops are useless, so he goes and kicks some ass himself. But this time there’s a difference: Caine’s Harry Brown is an old man. Not in good shape at all. So he has to use cleverness and some entertaining brutality to get the job done. And you have *never* heard a better use of the phrase “you have failed to maintain your weapon, son.”
It’s wortha watch. And it’s going for surprising cheap on DVD. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t bother to market a movie: nobody hears about it, and thus there’s no great rush to see it.