Harry Brown is more “The Crow” than “Death Wish”, as his vigilante behavior is mostly motivated by revenge. Whereas the Bronson film explores a man fed up with criminals in general, Harry’s anger is largely focused on those connected to his friend’s death. Another similarity is a subplot involving Emily Mortimer (Redbelt) as an investigator who suspects Brown is more than just a bystander to the killings.
The film slowly heats to a boil until its halfway mark, when it begins to explore very gritty and violent situations. From the moment Harry attempts to buy his first gun, the movie pulls you in and never lets go. The film offers a few minor twists, and though the story isn’t especially original, a terrific performance by Michael Caine easily carries it the distance.
The cinematography is great, and the soundtrack is very stark and haunting most of the time. My only real complaint is that the use of CGI for certain scenes of violence was unnecessary.
The only reason I’m giving Harry Brown four stars instead of five, is that the concept isn’t very original. But it’s still a very interesting look at a man who has reached his tipping point, played by an excellent veteran actor. This is a film worth watching for Caine’s performance alone.