After Action Report: Harry Brown

9 Apr

Last night, I finally watched a movie that I have been anticipating for a while.  And I’m still trying to process it. 

I wanted to like this movie.  I really did.  I thought that a film about a decorated Royal Marine in retirement who gets fed up with the crime and filth plaguing his home would be impressive.  Kind of like the juggernaut of violence that he played in 1971’s ode to violence, Get Carter.  But that wasn’t what I got.

The movie started slow.  We get a crawling introduction to Harry, now an old age pensioner living in ugly housing blocks.  He is struggling with the fact that his wife is institutionalized, suffering from a nameless malady…dementia, Altzhiemers…take your pick.  The parts of the days not spent in silence at her bedside, watching her stare off into space, are spent playing chess with an old friend, Leonard, at the local pub.

Leonard cannot conceal his contempt with crime and decay that surrounds him.  He points out the openly conducted drug trade to his friend Harry, over a game of chess, horrifying Harry, because it might call attention to them.  Leonard’s anger grows as the local gangs do what they can to terrorize him.  Leonard cannot understand why Harry, a decorated veteran of the Northern Ireland campaigns, does nothing to even express dismay at what goes on around them.  When pressed, Harry explained that when he met his wife, he knew he could never again be the man that he had been.

Two tragedies, one on the heels of the other, shatter Harry’s world, and after getting bad news from the Police, Harry surveils the predators living among his neighborhood.  And then gets to work. 

As the story unfolds, you get glimmers of the man that the mild-mannered Harry has suppressed, perhaps for decades.  An interrogation scene offers a glimpse of the cold-blooded brutality that was necessary to be the Queen’s Man in Belfast and come home alive.  But this hardness is still restrained, kept in check.  While his age and ailments prevent him from unrolling the blanket of revenge all in one night, Harry does, inevitably, prevail.  And by a quirk of fate, a major police raid, and an incredulous constabulary, Harry is not pursued by the law for his extermination of the trash poisoning his neighborhood.

One of the few moments in the film that worked for me was when he was confronted about the violence going on around him, and how he must be used to it from his time in Northern Ireland.  Harry’s response was the same as the one in my head, namely, that at least those people were fighting for something, whereas the youths in his neighborhood did it for entertainment.

I wanted to like this movie.  I really did.  But the presentation was unnecessarily slow, even for a British production, and I found it impossible to believe that a man who had witnessed and participated in the horrors that he did would be able to lock that all away for the love of a woman alone.  The payoffs, when they came, had no emotion, no slaking of vengeance.  It was justice, and more than many of them deserved, but it was too restrained.  Ultimately, Harry’s violence was no more than what was required to balance the accounts, but ultimately it left me cold.

As I thought about it over breakfast, it occurred to me that this was the British version of Gran Torino.  But where Gran Torino’s main character sacrifices himself to give his neighbor and friend a chance to find his own life without living under the heel of the crime and decay that surrounds him, Harry’s act was revenge that gave his community some breathing room and a chance to come outside during the day.  The cultural differences between we and our cousins remain well-defined.

96 Responses to “After Action Report: Harry Brown”

  1. Dick April 9, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

    You bitch too much. I liked the film.

  2. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere April 9, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

    I’d much rather watch Get Carter.

    Or the original version of The Italian Job.

  3. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere April 9, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

    I’ve got Red set for tonight. I’m anticipating a lot more fun with that.

  4. Dick April 9, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    Red’s a lot better than Harry Brown, and Harry Brown made me laugh.

  5. Dick April 9, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    Of course, Red had a hell of a lot bigger budget.

  6. GMLand April 9, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

    I liked Red, goodish flick.

  7. xbradtc April 9, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    Your probably gonna need a little lube to get that thing inside, honey….

    http://tinyurl.com/4y3sdhw

  8. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere April 9, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

    I think you’re gonna need a bigger boat plane.

  9. Dick April 9, 2011 at 4:00 pm #

    Slip a condom on it and it’ll be fine.

  10. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere April 9, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    I ain’t puttin a condom on that. I don’t know where it’s been.

  11. Jay in Ames April 9, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    Red rocked, fell in love with Helen Mirren, again. Also, it did NOT start out like I thought it was going to, it started out better. Did anyone else think that? (re the relationship between Willis and Mary Louise-Parker)

    Harry Brown was different, but I liked it, too. Different than what I expected, also. BiW is right, it is a toned down Gran Torino, or even Armageddon (yeah, I went there, good flick even with Ben Affleck in it). Sacrifice is a very successful movie device, and Harry Brown didn’t go as far as we are used to.

  12. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere April 9, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    Harry Brown was different, but I liked it, too. Different than what I expected, also. BiW is right, it is a toned down Gran Torino, or even Armageddon (yeah, I went there, good flick even with Ben Affleck in it). Sacrifice is a very successful movie device, and Harry Brown didn’t go as far as we are used to.

    I liked Armageddon, but I don’t think it even compares to Gran Torino or Harry Brown. You are right about sacrifice, but Harry didn’t sacrifice anything. Harry Brown is about revenge that happen to make the neighborhood a better place. Gran Torino is about sacrifice for specific people that allows for a good future. Arguably, Armageddon is also about sacrifice for specific people too. The fact that it saved the world made the sacrifice that much more great.

  13. MCPO Airdale April 9, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    They must have stripped that H-53 down to parade rest to get it into a C-5A,

  14. Jay in Ames April 9, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

    Arguably, Armageddon is also about sacrifice for specific people too. The fact that it saved the world made the sacrifice that much more great.

    That’s the part I was going for, and just wasn’t saying it as well as you just did. Thanks for cleaning up that loose shit. It was just the first movie I could think of that also had the sacrifice angle, and that I liked a bit.

  15. LC Aggie Sith April 9, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    Ahhh, I understand now. Harry didn’t sacrifice, allegorically or no.

    Still, it’s Michael Caine!!!

    Yum 😀

  16. MCPO Airdale April 9, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

    Even at the Masters, we are forced to watch every twitch of Eldrick Woods.

  17. roamingfirehydrant April 9, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

    MCPO, I really, really, really wanted Tiger to miss the cut and go the hell home. (raaaaacist)

  18. LC Aggie Sith April 9, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

    *whips out minority card*

    So did I, Roamy.

  19. roamingfirehydrant April 9, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

    Pisses me off that he could be 10 strokes back, but they will cover him more than the leaders.

  20. Dick April 9, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

    Finishing up taxes while drinking (yeah, I know it’s a bit early) and just wrote off the three dead hookers in my basement.

  21. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere April 9, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

    Thanks for cleaning up that loose shit.

    Awwwww, I dunno if I can handle this polite stuff. Can’t you just say “Fuck off, I meant what I said and you’re a turd for trying to make me think otherwise.”? 😉

  22. LC Aggie Sith April 9, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

    just wrote off the three dead hookers in my basement.

    Are they a work write-off?

  23. Dick April 9, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

    And if you haven’t seen Battle Royale yet, you’re missing out big time.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0266308/

  24. roamingfirehydrant April 9, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

    Speak of the devil, Tiger just scrambled the egg on an easy putt.

  25. roamingfirehydrant April 9, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

    Dick, can you count the tequila as a business expense?

  26. MCPO Airdale April 9, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

    Dick, can you count the tequila as a business expense?

    How can you re-point brick without tequilla?!??

  27. Dick April 9, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    Wish I could, Roamy.
    Okay, the IRS said my business did 15K after all expenses, and dead hookers are a big expense.
    I don’t know where that money is, but they claimed I made it.

  28. Jay in Ames April 9, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

    If it’s a country where tequila isn’t a business expense, I don’t wanna live in that country.

    At least until the statute of limitations runs out. *cleans up expense report

  29. Teresa in Fort Worth, TX April 9, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

    Speak of the devil, Tiger just scrambled the egg on an easy putt.
    Them rocket scientists shore do have a purty way with words, don’t they?

    Becca and I are watching Bambi – we’re giggling over the scene where Thumper gets all twitterpated…

  30. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere April 9, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

    Heir No. Two is watching Thomas.

    The Mrs. is watching the Ghost Whisperer.

    I am watching nothing.

  31. LC Aggie Sith April 9, 2011 at 5:43 pm #

    Battle Royale

    That was a pretty awesome flick, Dick.

    I am watching nothing.

    Eldest is cleaning the front room, and insists on blaring “her music”. She has Carin’s tastes.

    *whimper*

  32. LC Aggie Sith April 9, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

    And damnit to hell…. the snake got a bit too enthusiastic and now I have mouse blood all over my freaking tub.

  33. Dick April 9, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

    I got to pick out our movie last night. Decided to go weird on Kel, so we watched Breakfast At Tiffany’s.
    First time I ever saw it. Not too bad.

  34. Dick April 9, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

    Eldest is cleaning the front room, and insists on blaring “her music”. She has Carin’s tastes.

    Stinky was always blasting Classical, Jazz, or Big Band music from his room, the geek.

  35. LC Aggie Sith April 9, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

    Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a great movie, Dick.

    And since George Peppard starred in it, you get to keep your Man Card™.

  36. LC Aggie Sith April 9, 2011 at 5:58 pm #

    I did have my Glenn Miller CDs in the player, but she took them out while I was out.

    She’s wily that way.

  37. Dick April 9, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

    The decision has been made.
    Chili is being made at our house tonight.

  38. LC Aggie Sith April 9, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

    Holy shit…

    Now she is giving the snakes a bath…

  39. MCPO Airdale April 9, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

    RORY!!!!

  40. PattyAnn April 9, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

    Back home 🙂 His Mother’s church made up a big church-lady luncheon for everyone. Lots of brisket, chicken and salads. Even green jello Baptist ones. Then there were the pies…

    “cleaning the front room” Aggie, that’s what my Mother has always called *it*. All we had was a front room , half bath and kitchen downstairs.

  41. LC Aggie Sith April 9, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

    Calhoun??

  42. Dick April 9, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

    Why on earth would she give the snakes a bath?

  43. Dick April 9, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

    PA, how ya doing, dear?

  44. roamingfirehydrant April 9, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    Chili is being made at our house tonight.

    **sends priority one message to HazMat Disposal in DFW area.

  45. LC Aggie Sith April 9, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    Hell if I know, Dick.

    PattyAnn, glad to hear things went well, dear!!

    And “front room” is just apt 😀

  46. Dick April 9, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

    **sends priority one message to HazMat Disposal in DFW area.

    Not gonna help, Roamy.
    This dump is going Nagasaki.

  47. roamingfirehydrant April 9, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

    (((hugs PA)))

  48. Dick April 9, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

    Just scanned all the grocery stores’ weekly flyers.
    Meat prices are going through the fucking roof.

  49. LC Aggie Sith April 9, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

    This dump is going Nagasaki.

    *calculates distance to SA area*

    I don’t think it’s far enough…

  50. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere April 9, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    I think I’m a gonna try for a nap…and see if my kids let me get away with it.

  51. LC Aggie Sith April 9, 2011 at 6:39 pm #

    I think I’m a gonna try for a nap

    HIDE ALL THE MARKERS!!!!

  52. PattyAnn April 9, 2011 at 6:42 pm #

    Dick, did you see Albertson’s? Ribeye $4.99 lb, Rump roast was cheap, I think $1.99 lb?, lots of buy one get one or two or three free? (I just checked it out online).

    I am very, very tired. Going to go take a nap.

  53. Dick April 9, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    Umm… I could go for a Rump Roast.

  54. Teresa in Fort Worth, TX April 9, 2011 at 6:59 pm #

    This is REALLY good – it lays out in great detail exactly what a coup Speaker Boehner got (and what a political moron Bamster is….):

    So what did Boehner have to beat the Dems with and get this much out of them? My guess is it was that moronic false choice between Planned Parenthood and paying our troops. As I said in numerous previous posts, only a political moron/novice would set up this false choice (see here for examples). Presidents should never forget, they will be fired before they can harm our brave men and women on the front lines of 3 wars and numerous police actions. There is no doubt here at all, unless you are a clueless and insecure liberal. The Commander-In-Chief had come out and said he would veto troop pay. He was checkmated right then and there.

    Kay Baily Hutchinson was on last night and dropped a little noticed bomb shell. She had 80 cosponsors on a Senate bill – yes, I said 80 – to fund the DoD for the next 6 months. When combined with the House offer to do the same, Obama was facing a real mess. No stop gap CR, just a bill to pay the troops. The Dems in the Senate were jumping ship. The worst part? The Obama White House was using its CNN puppets to spread the word it was those very Senate Dems that asked to put troop pay in the shutdown mix. I sort of doubt it, given what Senator Hutchinson claimed. This is a clear sign that a bumbling political operation was getting whacked.

    The Congress had decided which path they would take in the ridiculous false choice between Planned Parenthood and our troops. They stood with the troops and against the President. That is the only thing that could explain what we saw yesterday.

    I am sure Reid told the President he was boxed in, and but good.

    http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/16268

    Did I mention it’s good?

  55. roamingfirehydrant April 9, 2011 at 7:00 pm #

    I could go for a Rump Roast

    yum, low-hanging fruit!

  56. Teresa in Fort Worth, TX April 9, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    Aw crap, Dick’s eatin’ chili?

    I think we’re in the danger zone here in FTW. There will doubtless be a poo-nami of epic proportions….

    *goes to warn Mr. TiFW that a shitstorm’s heading our way, puts on raincoat and galoshes and waits*

  57. LC Aggie Sith April 9, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

    poo-nami

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!

  58. Dick April 9, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

    HA!!! I no make poo-nami!

  59. LC Aggie Sith April 9, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    More like a Toot-nado, Dick??

  60. Dick April 9, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

    Fartnados are king!

    Just for giggles, we’re watching Rainman.

  61. Car in April 9, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

    Just scanned all the grocery stores’ weekly flyers.
    Meat prices are going through the fucking roof.

    Yea, and it’s going to get worse. Stock up now.

    Has anyone else seen that show “extreme couponing” ?Omg. These people get $500 worth of groceries and pay $5.

  62. Dick April 9, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

    Yeah, but they piss off the rest of the world behind them in line.

  63. clintbird April 9, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    Sidney Lumet died.

  64. Jay in Ames April 9, 2011 at 9:04 pm #

    Mmm, steak and potatoes, salad, now on to a beer.

    Life doesn’t suck, right now.

  65. MCPO Airdale April 9, 2011 at 9:04 pm #

  66. Jay in Ames April 9, 2011 at 9:09 pm #

    Excellent music choice!

  67. Dick April 9, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

    Life doesn’t suck, right now.

    Give it time, Jay.

  68. Teresa in Fort Worth, TX April 9, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

    I got to see Bread in concert my freshman year in college – the story told about that particular song is that it was written after his father died, lamenting his loss.

    Never could listen to it the same after that….

  69. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere April 9, 2011 at 10:29 pm #

    Rice-a-roni with chicken, celery and yuyuons, and biscuits on the side.

    The nap was good.

    Bread can suck my left nut.

    Fartnados rock if you are at the center of the weather event.

    Boehner went in with 61 B on the table and a rider to stop the government from giving Murder, Inc. borrowed money we have to pay back.

    He came out with 38.5 B declaring victory, and the people he used as a “bargaining chip” will never be available for comment. If that’s victory, then I never want to taste what defeat and ashes taste like.

  70. xbradtc April 9, 2011 at 10:45 pm #

    BiW, the 38.5 is a cut against the FY10 baseline, which would constitute the first real dollar cuts in the budget since before any of us were born. It’s not a Great Leap Forward, but it is a step in the right direction.

  71. PattyAnn April 9, 2011 at 10:53 pm #

    I had a good nap, too. Roamy’s chex mix is vewwwy good.

  72. Teresa in Fort Worth, TX April 9, 2011 at 10:56 pm #

    BiW: Read this – it might make you feel better about the deal that was made:
    http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/16268

  73. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere April 9, 2011 at 11:03 pm #

    Teresa, read this, because it might tamp down some of your enthusiasm:

    http://theothermccain.com/2011/04/09/not-trying-to-play-true-conservative-here-but-the-budget-deal-is-a-problem/

  74. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere April 9, 2011 at 11:04 pm #

    Money quote:

    Ask yourself: Why is Harry Reid talking about how “historic” this deal is? Why are liberals moaning about this measly 1/30th reduction of the deficit as if it were a draconian slash-and-burn?

    Answer: By giving people the idea that this deal imposes drastic cuts, Democrats will make it easier to justify resisting more serious deficit-reduction measures later.

  75. xbradtc April 9, 2011 at 11:13 pm #

    BiW, as noted elsewhere, for the first time, we’re fighting about how much to cut, not whether to cut.

    And if we cut the budget, and the world doesn’t end, doesn’t that mean that the Dems histrionics loose some of their strength?

  76. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere April 9, 2011 at 11:20 pm #

    Brad, you’re thinking rationally. Dhims don’t. And if they don’t have to deal with us on a “small” cut like 61B, there will be no success on a 6T cut. And you’ve seen Geoff’s chart…6T isn’t even really good enough.

  77. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere April 9, 2011 at 11:23 pm #

    And I’m not denying that it was a step in the right direction, but I am saying we don’t need baby steps…we need to be running. Yesterday.

  78. MCPO Airdale April 9, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    Bread can suck my left nut.

    Your Drill Sgt finally give it back to you?

  79. xbradtc April 9, 2011 at 11:27 pm #

    BiW, you of all people should know once you convince her to just “let you slip the tip in” it gets easier to move on from there.

  80. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere April 9, 2011 at 11:27 pm #

    Besides…we didn’t have to go to the 11th hour for 38.5 B. That offer was out there much earlier.

  81. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere April 9, 2011 at 11:30 pm #

    Brad, we can agree to disagree on this one.

    I really, really want to believe that we tricked them on this, but I think that is optimistic.

  82. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere April 9, 2011 at 11:32 pm #

    Your Drill Sgt Civil Procedure Professor finally give it back to you?

    Yeah. I earned it back the end of the semester.

    The Torts Prof went to the grave with my right one, though.

  83. xbradtc April 9, 2011 at 11:33 pm #

    Oh, we didn’t trick them. But we did beat them. Not as decisively as we need, but it is a start.

  84. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere April 9, 2011 at 11:37 pm #

    Not as decisively as we need, but it is a start.

    On that, we can agree, sir.

    *tips hat*

  85. xbradtc April 9, 2011 at 11:54 pm #

    Wow, I’m killing threads here and at the other place.

    I’m that good.

  86. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere April 9, 2011 at 11:58 pm #

    We don’t really have a late night contingent here, and since playing there isn’t really an option, I might goof off on FB.

    Since the usual suspects there aren’t really playing with me at the moment, I was thinking about going to watch a movie.

    But I’ll share this moment with you from a previous After Action Report from happier times:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWl7sY-ZpO8

  87. clintbird April 10, 2011 at 12:01 am #

    I watched a movie, The Fighter, tonight. Pretty good flick.

  88. xbradtc April 10, 2011 at 12:04 am #

    I saw that movie on your recommendation. It was pretty good. Not high art, but it was honest about what it was, and fun.

  89. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere April 10, 2011 at 12:06 am #

    I watched a movie, The Fighter, tonight. Pretty good flick.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2BBrywhv40

  90. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere April 10, 2011 at 12:07 am #

    Yeah, it required a certain suspension of disbelief, but it was a lot of fun.

  91. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere April 10, 2011 at 12:08 am #

    So Heir No. One came to say good night, and looked at the background. He wanted to know if Mom had seen it and what she said about it.

  92. Blackiswhite, Imperial Consigliere April 10, 2011 at 12:10 am #

    I still haven’t convinced the Mrs. to watch Amazing Grace with me.

  93. LC Aggie Sith April 10, 2011 at 9:19 am #

    WAKEY WAKEY PEOPLE!!!!!!!!

  94. PattyAnn April 10, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    Jeez! Can’t a person sleep for ten or eleven hours around here without someone making all that noise?

  95. LC Aggie Sith April 10, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    Oh, sorry about that, PattyAnn….

    *tip toes to the other poat*

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