Time Out says
Although it takes a while before ‘Harry Brown’ shows its true colours, there’a a vulgar whiff from the off: in the first seconds of this debut from director Daniel Barber (who, technically, shows a fair amount of talent) we watch grainy mobile footage of a kid on a scooter as he confronts a young mum and shoots her dead before he comes a cropper himself on the road. It’s horrible stuff, but there must be a good reason for it, surely?
As it turns out, this scene is a random first glimpse of a warped portrait of our city that’s straight out of the Daily Mail – a place where your granny might get shot, stabbed or battered at every turn. It’s also the first hint of the sick ideology of the film, in which ill-informed pessimism is bolstered by childish ideas of revenge. There’s always a punishment around the corner, not only to avenge bad behaviour but also to give the makers sneaky licence to indulge in violence. As narrative – and moral – maths go, this is a cooking of the books that sidesteps any smart commentary on real life.