Saturday, 14 November 2009

Harry Brown - vigilante

Today I enjoyed a highly gratifying afternoon watching Michael Caine blowing away hoodie pondlife in his latest film outing Harry Brown, not least of interest since I had had a similar idea for a pensioner vigilante film myself some while ago. This film seemed considerably more violent than my own film script might have been, but as with all the best film heroes, had the decency to make Harry a reluctant assassin, doing his best to put his Marine days behind him and live a quiet, law-abiding old age until simultaneously provoked beyond endurance and left with nothing to lose by the druggie scum making his estate a living hell, he rediscovers his latent military skills.

Despite his 76 years, Michael Caine continues to cut an imposing figure on screen with an even more imposing presence as the decent man trying to do the right thing, but just capable of overstepping the boundary when the boundary doesn't seem to know its own position any more and he finds the long arm of the law lacks meaningful reach.

Very much a cut above the usual British gangster fodder and not just owing to Mr Caine's presence, but a damn fine screenplay too, even if it must invariably share a few formulaic elements of the genre.

Entertainment-value aside, the film is a disturbing and damning endictment of both the state of 'broken Britain' and the uselessness of our Police force, who seem by turns frustrated by their own lack of powers and quite happy to afford said hoodie pondlife more human rights than the taxpayers who actually foot their wages bill.

Time was when the police were 'servants of the people' and widely-acknowledged as such - aka there to serve the public. Now they appear to be a free security force for big business (particularly when protecting its interests against any detractors) and enforcers of human rights for those whose actions in infringing upon and denying others their human rights should have led to forfeiture of their own some time ago.

The only ray of light is that as we tax payers are effectively the 'employers' of the Police, perhaps we should have the power to sack the lot of them if their service to us is unacceptable and demand a new Police force actually on the side of the decent and the law-abiding, who also happen to be their ultimate bosses to whom they are answerable.

We can't have all these tooled up 76 year old vigilantes running around on account of a film neglecting to display a 95 certificate, after all!

Top tip of the week: If you need the Police round in a hurry; to deal with a gang of yobs smashing your windows for example; rather than in a week's time, just phone up and lie that a gang of Animal Rights protesters are breaking into your shed to liberate your rabbits and request urgent assistance. Apparently they send the whole caboodle straight round, whirlycopters too, if you're lucky.


Steve said...

Bizarrely, and a little relatedly, I had to call am ambulance on Friday for a young drunk guy who'd collapsed at my place of work. I had to wait an hour for a response. One paramedic arrived within 20 minutes but refused to deal with the guy until his back-up had arrived... broken Britain indeed.

Dan said...

What is your place of work? Presumably, it's not a regular office, or his Friday night started rather early!

Reluctant Blogger said...

Things seem OK around here. We have a local police station just 5 mins walk from the house and a young bobby who walks the beat and two Community Support Officers who do the same. They walk the beat at school run time so they get to know the local community and are a familiar presence for the young people.

I haven't had any serious issues that need sorting but when we've had trivial troubles (the kind that might perhaps grow into something bigger) they have been sorted straight away.

whilst I don't live on an estate I live very close to one and I think in the past there had been a lot of trouble round here.

So whilst overall there appear to be problems, there are some good examples of effective policing around.

I rather like the sound of the film but I hate cinemas so will wait till I can watch it at home.

Wisewebwoman said...

This is one I've put on the list to try and catch. Good for Caine making movies so late in life.

Nota Bene said...

It does seem that people are victims twice over now - once from the crime, and secondly from a system that doesn't look after them...can't wait to see Harry Brown....

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Owen said...

Oh dear, looks like the spam police need to stop by and round up the viagra dealers ! What a pestilence...

Thanks for the tip, will have to head off to the cinema one of these days to give this a look...

The Sagittarian said...

Hoodie pondlife - love it!

urko said...

Mark Kermode didn't rate the film, but I may have to investigate on your word. I must say I (sort of) like the idea, being more than half way to 76 already.
On a serious note, the Police weren't much in evidence when my cousin's wife was being beaten up by hooded animal rights protestors or when my cousin's modest car was having its paintwork destroyed by brake fluid. All of this based on the incorrect belief that they were in some way connected to an operation the protestors disapproved of (they aren't as it happens).

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Steve, that is bizarre. Presumably they were hoping he would die on your insurance rather than theirs!

RB - why do I suspect you live in Warmington-On-Sea? It sounds so impossibly idyllic - can it really be in 21st century Britain? Where do I apply for a visa? Or do you just pay twice as much council tax as the rest of us?

WWW - And apparently he's in tip top health for his age, having looked after himself, unlike so many film stars.

NotaBene - you won't be disappointed.

Owen - actually I take heart from the fact that as I get older it will never be too late to become a gangster's moll! (a foolish girlhood fantasy). Plus if you're an older gangster you can be forgiven for mishearing/misinterpreting David Cameron's exhortation to 'Hug A Hoodie' as 'Slug a Hoodie'

Sagittarian - I'll send you one! Call it an early birthday pressie.

Urko, I'm so sorry to hear the ruse did not work on that occasion (ie in real life). Let me know if you come up with a more effective one when urgent police presence is required.