Harry Brown (Blu-ray) (2009)

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Released 5-Oct-2010

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Audio
Deleted Scenes
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 102:38
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Daniel Barber
Studio
Distributor
Icon Entertainment Starring Michael Caine
Emily Mortimer
Charlie Creed-Miles
David Bradley
Iain Glen
Sean Harris
Ben Drew
Jack O'Connell
Jamie Downey
Case ?
RPI $42.95 Music Ruth Barrett
Martin Phipps


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     I think Michael Caine is a very fine actor and it is great to see him continuing to play interesting characters and leading films despite his advancing years (he turned 77 this year). This particular film is his latest leading role which was made in 2009 and directed by first time feature director Daniel Barber who was Oscar Nominated for a previous short film, The Tonto Woman. He has certainly turned out an interesting, gripping and somewhat confrontational first feature film. This film has been referred to as the British Gran Torino which I reviewed last year here . To my mind Gran Torino is the superior film but if a young film maker is turning out projects which are mentioned in the same breath as those of a master like Clint Eastwood then he has a lot to offer the film industry. There is more depth to the story in Gran Torino with more of a redemption angle than the plot here which is more vigilante and revenge focussed.

     The story here involves the titular character, Harry Brown (Caine), an old man who lives on one of the depressing English estates with his wife. She is in hospital and he spends his days with his friend Len (David Bradley) playing chess at the pub and lamenting the state of English youth. Ken and his wife had a daughter but she died when she was a young teenager. The film starts by showing a drug fuelled, random murder of a young mother by a gang of youths who terrorise the estate where Harry and Len live. Len is a special target of the gang who push things through his letterbox and generally make his life a misery. Harry's wife does not return from hospital and Len decides he has had enough of being terrorised by the gangs and decides to fight back, resulting in his death. Now Harry is left completely alone and decides to exact revenge for the death of Len. He has a background in the marines and is better suited to the fight than Len. The local police are fronted in the film by an idealistic young DI, Alice Frampton (Emily Mortimer), who tries to investigate the death of Len despite management interference.

     Caine is excellent in this film portraying the sad and angry Harry. The direction is assured resulting in a film which is confronting, powerful, sad and grim depicting the violence in the estates. The film is shot quite naturalistically which is very suited to the material. The action is well staged but somewhat gory, earning its MA rating. This film is certainly not for all audiences and the grim and violent nature of its story will not attract some demographics, however if you are interested in films of this type then Harry Brown is certainly worth your time.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video quality is excellent. The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 1080p native widescreen encoded in the AVC codec. The film was shot digitally.

     The picture was very clear and sharp throughout with lots of detail. The shadow detail was also excellent. The colour was excellent with no colour artefacts. The colour scheme is very gray.

     There were no noticeable artefacts.

     There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired which are very close to the spoken word and easy to read.

     There is no noticeable layer change during the program.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is also excellent. This DVD contains two audio options, an English DTS HD-MA 5.1 soundtrack and an English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack. Both options are excellent but the DTS seems to have deeper bass.

     Dialogue was clear and easy to hear at all times.

     The score by Ruth Barrett and Martin Phipps is tense and well suited to the material. It sounds excellent and immersive on this disc.

     The surround speakers were used constantly even though this film is not an all action film. They were used for many ambient sounds, such as door knocks and voices and then spring to life during the action scenes as well. The subwoofer is also well used supporting action scenes, gun shots and other thumps along with the music.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

     The menu included music.

Deleted Scenes (3:07, 0:54, 3:55, 1:23, 3:54, 2:32, 1:08)

     A significant selection of deleted scenes some of which are helpful to understand the background of the various characters including Harry and Frampton. If you like a wide variety of boom mikes, you can see many here.

Icon Highlights

     Trailers and previews for 15 films in HD.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     This local version is coded for Regions A, B & C and there are also two different Blu-ray releases available in Region A (United States) and B (United Kingdom). Neither of the others includes the Dolby TrueHD option. The Region B release has the following features over and above our local release

     The Region A release (which seems to be Region A locked) includes the following over and above our local release

     Unless you need the Dolby TrueHD soundtrack, the Region B release seems to be the winner to me.

Summary

     A grim and powerful view of modern Britain wrapped in a revenge story.

     The video quality is excellent. The audio quality is excellent. The extras are minimal.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, December 02, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplayLG Scarlet 42LG61YD 106cm Full HD LCD. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into BD player. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Harry Brown. Time to retire? -