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TIFF '09 Day 3: Michael, Michael Caine

I always try to see at least one film at the historic Elgin Theatre. The interior is just so beautiful and the screen for they use for TIFF screenings is huge. I love to sit in the balcony because I'm not tall, and I like the stadium seating up there. Even from the heights the screen is still bigger than most. TIFF also uses experienced projectionists (no hastily trained employee for this event), which means that there is no chance of any part of the screen being out of focus or out of alignment with the frame.

Tonight I had the pleasure of seeing Michael Caine take the stage along with Emily Mortimer, and the director and producers of the film, HARRY BROWN. Micheal walked on to thunderous applause, and asked us to spread the word if we enjoyed the film and to say "nothing" if we didn't. I loved Michael Caine as Harry Brown, and liked the film.

Michael Caine is so good. No matter what role you see him play, he always disappears into the character. This is not an easy thing for a very well-known actor to do, but he accomplishes this every time.

In HARRY BROWN, Caine plays an old age pensioner living on a very rough housing estate in England. When tragedy strikes a friend, Harry seeks revenge in an explosive way. No one believes Emily Mortimer's character, when she tries to tell her commanding officer, that she thinks Harry is responsible for taking out some of the criminal elements that have been plaguing the estate. Why would they? Most people never think about what people used to do before they became old; they just see an old person, end of story. Well, what Emily's character has noticed is the fact that Harry used to be a Marine stationed in Ireland. She thinks he is very capable of the murders, but she has no one to back her.

I said I liked the film rather than loved it because it's a strange mix of the predictable (out of control youth terrorizing neighbours) and the unpredictable (Harry's revenge is decidedly bloody). So one minute you are watching a social commentary on at risk youth and the ineffective techniques of addressing the problems with band-aid solutions, and the next you are in an tense action drama as Harry, sick of being frightened and with no help from the police, fights back with deadly accuracy. I have to give credit to whomever cast the actor as the drug-dealing, junkie. This guy is the rangiest, creepiest, dirtiest guy I have ever seen. Needle tracks, scars, and sadistic apathy towards life mark this character's body in such a way that he barely looks human.

Overall, though, I recommend Harry Brown for Michael Caine's performance. He owns the film.


Anne said…
I totally agree with you on this one Donna.

The challenge was to make an older man credible as a vigilante, so I'm glad the character was plagued with his own health problems.

I made the same remark about the casting of the drug-dealing junkie,he was just the scariest dude. Ever!

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