Harry Brown is directed by Daniel Barber and is an independent film distributed by Lionsgate UK. Harry Brown is an elderly man living in a run down South London council estate being taken over by youth crime. When his best friend Leonard is killed on the estate, Harry decides to take the law into his own hands and seek revenge on those who killed his best friend. The Dark Knight is a big budget Hollywood film directed by Christopher Nolan and distributed by Warner Bros. Gotham City is being invaded by a mass amount of crime, the most significant threat being the Joker. Batman, lieutenant Jim Gordon and district attorney Harvey Dent form a partnership to sort out the cities problems whilst facing a huge problem – defeating the Joker.
For Harry Brown and The Dark Knight I will be looking at the two MACRO aspects – narrative and genre. For both films I will looking at the role of a vigilante and how narrative and genre communicate this. I believe narrative and genre can both be used very effectively in comparing Harry Brown and The Dark Knight as these MACRO aspects relate well to each other. The MICRO aspects I will use to show the role of a vigilante in both films will be mis-en-scene and cinematography.
Harry Brown (released in 2009) and The Dark Knight (released in 2008) are two thriller films in which the narrative involves the protagonists take on the role of vigilantes; embarking on taking revenge for deaths they blame themselves for. Batman blames himself for the death of Rachel, who he has feelings for and Harry Brown blames himself for the death of his best friend Leonard. Through the motive of revenge Batman and Harry Brown end up cleaning up the mass criminal society around them, (Harry Brown with the South London council estate and Batman with Gotham city). As vigilantes Harry Brown and Batman end up committing morally wrong actions, but as the audience we never see them suffer for their actions, also through the long stride of violence Harry Brown and Batman follow and with the clear up of society, this shows that their wrong actions actually lead to positive results.
Thesis Statement Paragraph 1 - Brief introduction and overview of both films. How through the narrative the start of The Dark Knight and Harry Brown are expressed and shown. How costume show the threat of characters from both films. The use of hand held camera in Harry Brown along with the smooth controlled camera used for The Dark Knight. Key Scenes - Harry Brown and The Dark Knight openings. Paragraph 2 - How both films follow and break genre conventions and how this affects both films narratives. Acting of antagonists in both films being similar to protagonists. Use of camera shots , mid and low angle shots show antagonists power. Key Scenes - Harry Brown tunnel scene & The Dark Knight interrogation scene. Paragraph 3 - The development through narrative of The Dark Knight and Harry Brown the disruption of equilibrium along with their motivations and, through revenge that make them to act aggressively, and the threat of antagonists on both characters. Also making reference to both films protagonists being anti-heroes. How through props and camera focus on the antagonists props (bomb and gun) show the shift of power through narrative. Key Scenes - The hospital scene with Harvey and the Joker in The Dark Knight and the subway scene in Harry Brown.
Paragraph 4 - The role of a vigilante and how Batman and Harry Browns actions have effected others, have they fully fulfilled their roles as a vigilante? Looking at narrative and genre. How through location shows that whether the vigilante role has been fulfilled. Also what the camera shots communicate, whether both films vigilantes have beaten the antagonists. Key Scenes - The Dark Knight and Harry Brown film endings. Paragraph 5 - Reference to thesis statement on how both Harry Brown and The Dark Knight show through narrative the role of a vigilante, and how both characters in the film do morally wrong and escape punishment. Both vigilantes restore social order and their own equilibrium - (Gotham city and the South London estate). Arguing my personal opinion regarding thesis statement. Also Harry Brown riot scene very similar to the London riots 2 years later - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-2169199/Michael-Caine-I- knew-2011-riots-happen-It-version-did-Sixties.html.
Looking at both The Dark Knight and Harry Brown, the protagonists of the film take up the role of vigilante. Through both the films narratives, we see the characters progression as vigilantes. The thriller genre is conveyed in the films through mystery and enigma codes as the audience follow the vigilantes on their journey and the suspense of the fate both Batman and Harry Brown will face. In The Dark Knight and Harry Brown we see how through the motive of revenge and redemption both vigilantes (Harry Brown and Batman) therefore clean up the criminal society around them. Harry Brown cleaning up the crime in the South London council estate and Batman cleaning up the crime in Gotham city. Although we as the audience see Harry Brown & Batman do morally wrong both protagonists escape punishment, this shows through narrative both films communicate that the protagonists are right through their actions. In Harry Brown we see Harrys equilibrium restored at the end of the film as the estate he lives in is no more infested with youth gang crime, but instead peace. Also the fact that he has avenged his best friend Leonards death by killing all those involved restores his equilibrium as he no longer feels guilty for the death. In the Dark Knight we see Batmans equilibrium not restored as he does not avenge Rachels death, and the Joker gets Harvey to join his side. Comparing both the two, Harry Brown is not as morally right compared to Batman. Harry kills many people and perhaps more than he needed to but Batman does not intentionally kill anyone and ends up leaving Gotham because he no longer feels he is a worthy leader and also "Because hes the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now.“