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 & The Dark Knight interrogation scenes. 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.
Both films come under the crime, action thriller genre. Both Harry Brown and Batman are the lead protagonists and take on the role of a vigilante in both films. They also are anti-heroes looking at their character qualities, they acquire some characteristics of a hero (fearless, decisive and courageous) but are also selfish and vengeful. The protagonists are motivated by revenge rather than the typical conventional hero motive of doing the right thing. Harry Brown is vengeful due to the murder of his best friend Leonard, and Batman is vengeful due to the death of Rachel, a woman who he also has feelings for. Batman is selfish as his actions are mostly due to the fact he has feelings for Rachel and wants to win her over although she is already in a relationship with Harvey Dent. Harry Brown is selfish as he thoughts are fully set on getting revenge regardless of the law or his actions possible effects on others. Harry Brown and The Dark Knight show how the lead characters roles as vigilantes, although motivated by revenge both characters end up cleaning up the area around them (Batman with Gotham city and Harry Brown with the South London council estate).
Themes in The Dark Knight & Harry Brown include: vengeance, conflict, anarchy, justice, evil vs good, crime and fear, power. In The Dark Knight themes include: politics, terrorism and corruption. In Harry Brown themes include: poverty and gangs.