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Movie Review: The Brave One

The Brave One
Directed by Neil Jordan
Written by Roderick Taylor, Bruce A. Taylor, and Cynthia Mort
Warner Bros.

So revenge is all over the place at the multiplex with the arrival of The Brave One, the female opposite of Death Sentence two weeks ago.  And no matter what you hear in interviews, I really don’t think either film explores revenge in the liberal manner that the stars may say they do.  These films are all about getting a charge from seeing street justice meted out.  It’s OK with me; you’re just going to find some critics who hate these movies because of that very reason, as if pop entertainment can’t just be about bad guys getting blown away for a couple of hours.

New York talk radio personality Erica Bain’s (Jodie Foster) fiance David Kirmani (Naveen Andrews) is beaten to death while the two stroll through Central Park.  Bain is lucky to be alive after taking some brutal hits of her own, and she awakes from unconsciousness three weeks later to find her fiance dead and develops a fear of the outside.  Not long after, she’s buying an illegal gun fearing for her life.

And it’s not long after that she has a reason to use it, in a violent convenience store robbery.  She begins to take a serious look inward, wondering why the police can’t find and catch her, much like the thugs who killed David.  Eventually she’s looking for trouble and blowing away bad guys, and they become sensationalized serial killings.  In a sort of comic book way, Erica is a talk DJ by day, vigilante killer by night.  It’s in the guise of her talk radio persona that she meets Detective Mercer (Terrence Howard).  They become friends, and she in ways challenges, mocks, and supports him all at once, the true serial killer who wants to be caught.

While at times the killings can be kind of ridiculous (after saving a drugged-out whore from a man in a car and taking his money, she somehow forgets that he’s in a car while she helps her walk down a road), this is a good cat-and-mouse game, with good chemistry between Howard and Foster.  It’s not as nihilistic as Death Sentence, and it explores the issue of revenge a little deeper, but let’s face it: this movie still glorifies revenge.  And as I stated before, I have no problem with that.  If you think the system is a joke, then it’s cathartic in movies to watch someone take the law into their own hands.  It’s probably not recommended in real life, though.


Comment from Jonathan
Time: September 14, 2007, 1:16 pm

I didn’t even realize Neil Jordan directed this. Sounds like a pretty fun film, and Foster and Howard together sounds dynamite.

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