When his best friend Leonard (David Bradley) is murdered, pensioner Harry Brown (Michael Caine) decides to fight back against the thugs who have robbed him of his only companion. Rediscovering his killer instinct, the ex-Marine takes matters into his own hands when the leader of the gang (Ben Drew) is released from custody. As people connected with Leonard's death start to die, investigating officer DI Frampton (Emily Mortimer) identifies Harry as the number one suspect, but is given short shrift by her superiors. With the police planning a massive raid of the gang's estate, tensions look set to reach boiling point as Harry's vigilante mission spirals out of hand.
Similar to Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino, Harry Brown stars an acting legend as an elderly widower, hauled out of his quiet existence by the violent actions of the 'youth of today'. While Torino takes a positive angle on this, Caine's effort is more about revenge than reformation.
Debut director Daniel Barber's film pulls no punches in exacting its brutal vengeance on the no-good hoodies who terrorise the streets, and the myopic world view he communicates results in a very powerful message.
Well-shot and dramatic, Harry Brown is certainly entertaining, and highly likely to prompt strong opinions, whichever side of the fence you fall on.