Harry Brown: A Movie Review
(Actually more of a political comment).
By John Lobell
Harry Brown, with seventy-seven year old Michael Caine, is in the tradition of Death Wish but it most closely evokes eighty year old Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino, even to the point of using the “Harry” from Eastwood’s earlier Dirty Harry movies.
Old retired guy, wife has just died, himself with lung cancer or emphysema, neighborhood terrorized by youth gangs, ineffectual cops, our hero good with weapons from war experience. He becomes a vigilante and takes out the bad guys.
One reason to see these two films is to follow the roles these actors have played in our own lives as we have grown up with their films. And there is the satisfaction we feel as our hero (or heroine in the case of Jodi Foster’s The Brave One) guns down the bad guys. But Harry Brown is important for another reason, a broad political and cultural reason.
We are being told by the intelligentsia that America must become more like Europe, so let’s see how Europe depicts Europe.
In Gran Torino, the neighborhood is starting to go down hill, but people live in their own (little) houses. And there is a “next generation,” a smart girl named Sue, who will have a good future, and her brother, Thao, to whom Eastwood’s character, Walt Kowalski, leaves his car and more importantly his tools so that he can become productive. Life goes on.
Harry Brown, on the other hand, is one of the dreariest movies I can remember seeing, visually and in every other way. Filled with horrible, horrible people, corrupt and incompetent police, and awful living conditions in a huge housing project. And in the end, we are left with nothing. Nothing.
This English movie tells us that England is a dead corpse beginning to rot. So just why are we supposed to adopt this as a model for our future?