DRAMA; 1hr 43min
STARRING: Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, Charlie Creed-Miles, David Bradley
Comrades: from left, Bradley and Caine
A lonely old age on modest means is a forlorn way to finish up your life. Harry Brown (Caine) is exactly that man when we meet him at the start of director Daniel Barber’s damning ordeal. A long-retired, just-widowed 76-year-old marine getting by on a South London housing estate where violence and drugs are a daily subtext, he’s a pin-neat and peaceable soul with a single close friend (Bradley as Leonard) and the sedate routine of someone who expects no more than he has.
Leonard’s murder leaves Harry bereft, but it’s also a fork in the road. When the investigating police (Mortimer and Creed-Miles) get nowhere with their pond-scum suspects, Harry goes it alone, wiping them out with the impassive exactitude of the fighter he once was. His age leaves him paradoxically unafraid: Harry fears inaction far more than death, and it takes an actor of Caine’s almighty stature to strike a reverberating chord as both a societal victim and the aggressor he becomes.