Harry Brown Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, David Bradley, Ben Drew Director: Daniel Barber By calling his angst-ridden, gun-toting avenger 'Harry', former television-advertisement director Daniel Barber invites comparisons of his first feature-length film with Clint Eastwood's work - Dirty Harry, or Gran Torino. Stripped down, Harry Brown's story is quite similar to past vehicles in the revenge genre, with its titular character (played by Michael Caine) shedding his meek-pensioner veneer to take up arms against the thugs terrorising his council-estate neighbourhood, killing the villains one by one after discovering that the police aren't of much help in delivering justice to those the yobs have maimed and killed, among them Harry's best friend Len (David Bradley). What leads Harry Brown down a different avenue, however, is Barber's decision to play up the bleakness not through gritty realism or testosterone-dripping action, but in displaying Brown's abject solitude in his gloomy flat and on the eerily empty streets. At least, that's so during the first half of the film, as the pensioner is seen - in long, quiet scenes - waking up and eating breakfast at home alone, walking through the corridors of his estate, and visiting his ailing wife at the hospital. It's only when disaster strikes that the drama and action kick in, as Brown attempts to fend off well-meaning detective Alice Frampton (Emily Mortimer) while reconnecting with his military past to rid his life of the thugs. In contrast to the IRA he fought in Northern Ireland, who were armed 'for a cause', he says, the hooligans are raising hell 'for entertainment'. There's a risk of Harry Brown being championed as an example of how social malaise should be addressed - the film has been appropriated by British Conservatives as a picture of the 'brutal reality' of south London's 'forgotten estates' and 'a commentary on contemporary mores'. The film plays to easy stereotypes, from scruffy gangs to inefficient police (and Mortimer's Frampton fits with the stereotypical view of women being easily swayed by emotions and acting against logic and procedure). Caine rises above it all, delivering an engaging performance that captures the pathos of an ex-soldier caught in a maelstrom from which he must fight his way out despite his deteriorating strength and much-changed mentality. Extras: interviews with cast and crew; feature commentary; deleted scenes.