stars as Harry Brown, a widowed pensioner
and ex-Royal Marine
who lives on a council estate
terrorised by feral teens
. After an old friend confronts a bunch of them and is killed, he decides that enough is enough and is off to go chav-hunting. In essence, he's the British version of Paul Kersey
The cast is noted for being very diverse, ranging from professional actors to actual and former gangsters, prostitutes and drug dealers. There is also an aspiring lawyer who also acts. Michael Caine himself lived not far from where the movie was shot and chose to do the project to raise awareness about English sink estates note
and the lifestyle lived in them.
An interview between Michael Caine and Jon Stewart
can be found here
Tropes associated with the film:
- Asshole Victim: "You should have called an ambulance, for the girl!"
- Anti-Villain: Invoked by one of the chavs during an interrogation.
- Ballistic Discount: Attempted by Harry and averted by the gun dealer who doesn't want him touching the guns until he's paid for them. Then Harry draws the dealer's attention to the home made porno playing on the TV and proceeds to play the trope straight.
- Badass Grandpa
- Big Damn Heroes: Harry saves Detective Frampton from being strangled to death by shooting Noel Winters. Shortly after, he is saved from being killed by Sid with the timely intervention of a pair of CO-19 officers.
- Cassandra Truth: Frampton informs the superintendent that Harry is the best suspect for some of the murders. Additionally, earlier in the film, Len flat-out tells Harry that Sid is not the man Harry thinks he is.
- Chekhov's Gun: In the film's climax: Frampton's radio, which she briefly uses to try and call for help before Noel attacks her. The camera focuses on it again when a pair of laser gun sight points appear on Sid's chest.
- In the same scene, the trope is also averted: When Frampton and Noel are struggling, Noel drops his gun next to Frampton. She never attempts to pick up the gun, although in her defense, she had recently suffered two blows to the head and was being strangled by Noel.
- And of course, let's not forget The .38 snubnose. The first gun that Harry asks about, and the last one he uses in the film, to kill Noel.
- Crack! Oh My Back!: Harry's often limited by his own aging body and a bad case of emphysema.
- Council Estate: The setting is a particularly run-down example; on top of that it's not too far from Michael Caine's real-life childhood neighborhood, where he's immortalized on a mural.
- Darker and Edgier: Geriatric widower with a distinguished military record lives in a bad part of town that used to be a good part of town. When he's had enough of the local teenagers' shenanigans, he shows them what a tough guy really looks like. Sounds like Gran Torino right? No.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Displayed by the chavs Harry encounters in the underpass while he sends one of their number towards them as bait with barbed wire around his neck. Of course, they are shooting Gangsta Style.
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Harry interrogates Marky by whipping him.
- Laser-Guided Karma: The chavs on the motorbike in the prologue. Played literally in the climax with Sid, getting taken out by a pair of CO-19 officers with laser gun sights.
- Let's Get Dangerous: when he decides he's had enough.
- Lower-Class Lout: The villains are all textbook examples, albeit better armed than usual.
- Morality Chain: Harry's comatose wife.
- Not with the Safety on, You Won't: "You've failed to maintain your weapon, son."
- Pointy-Haired Boss: The superintendent comes off as a very unreasonable boss, barely considering Frampton's theories and in the end getting a medal for the mediocre Operation Blue Jay.
- Police Are Useless: Played with. The police in this movie are far from inactive, but their effectiveness is questionable. Some cops are shown as more useless than others.
- Revenge Thriller: Harry is the hero only because the people he's up against are far, far worse.
- Trauma Conga Line: To be fair, he goes through a lot of shit and tries to let the authorities deal with it before taking matters into his own hands.
- Reckless Gun Usage: Most of the thugs are ridiculously negligent with their firearms - the drug dealer who Harry goes to buy weapons from takes the cake, though.
- The Reveal: The identity of the Big Bad, Sid. The spoiler being so short was a spoiler in itself, so I'm adding some text.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge
- Sword over Head: The gun dealer... On both sides.
- The Stoic: Police Superintendent Childs. When the riot starts, the chavs are throwing bottles and rocks at the police armored up in riot gear. Childs casually observes the whole thing, with his helmet in his hand. As projectiles thrown by the chavs land all around him, he casually turns around and walks back to his car, not even bothering to don his helmet until the very end of the scene.
- Alternate Character Interpretation: He's just detached and content to let his subordinates take care of it, see when a suspect jumps off the balcony and lands right in front of him, and he just stands there as the officers standing right next to him run over to subdue him.
- Teens Are Monsters: Once again, chavs.
- Underestimating Badassery: Brown's first kill is of a young man who no doubt assumed he would be an easy mark because of his age and intoxication. All of his targets clearly deem him easy prey because of this, never knowing that they're dealing with a retired Marine who's fed-up with them terrorizing his neighborhood.
- Understatement: On promotional stops, Michael Caine described Harry as "being upset" by his friend's death.
- Vigilante Man