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Awesome: 10%
Worth A Look35%
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8 reviews, 32 user ratings

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Brave One, The
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by Dawn Taylor

"I want my "Crying Game" Neil Jordan back, please."
3 stars

Apparently it’s the season for vigilante movies, first with the release of the ultra-violent “Death Sentence,” and now the Jodie Foster-as-Charles Bronson revenge flick “The Brave One.” Maybe it's a post-Labor Day thing, like putting away the white shoes.

Director Neil Jordan (The Crying Game, Breakfast on Pluto, has brought a number of interesting films to the screen, so it’s curious that he chose to make a fairly straightforward action movie like this. And, indeed, there are indications that his intentions were to bring depth to the genre. This is a patently post-9/11 picture, set in New York City and drenched with a sense of helpless, unreasoning fear in the aftermath of a violent assault.

Foster plays the victim of that assault, a radio personality named Erica Bane who does an NPR-style monologue show called “Streetwalk.” After a brutal beating by thugs that leaves her fiancé (Naveen Andrews) dead and puts her into a coma for three weeks, Erica buys a gun. She then takes to walking the streets at night looking for reasons to use it.

Jordan tries to have all of his revenge-fantasy cake and eat it, too, by making Erica’s gradual surrender to her violent impulses a conflicted, painful journey. Her initial kill is out of terror and self-defense, but the satisfaction and power she feels leads her to continue, even though she feels loathsome for doing it. Foster acquits herself admirably – she’s an astonishingly good actress, after all, and it’s easy to see why she’d want to play this role. The question is whether most movie-goers will appreciate the subtleties.

The problem with the whole dark-night-of-the-soul thing is that it’s secondary to the violence. There are many good films where violent acts are integral to the story, like 3:10 to Yuma, or where the carnage is so laughably over-the-top that it’s funny, like Shoot ‘Em Up. The violence in The Brave One however, takes place in a Death Wish style vigilante film and, as disturbing and brutal as it is, the audience is still encouraged to root for the hero. If a recent preview screening is an indication, the moral message of Jordan’s picture will fly over the heads of many viewers – much of the preview audience was hooting, clapping and laughing whenever Erica blew somebody away, as if they were watching another Die Hard sequel.

Muddying the plot’s waters further is Erica’s relationship with the detective investigating the “vigilante killer,” played by Terrence Howard. As his nagging suspicions that Erica may be responsible escalate, the tension increases. She’s aware that she’ll eventually be caught, and even seems to welcome the inevitable punishment for her actions. Yet while the film drives towards what ought to be a powerfully dark conclusion, ultimately Jordan delivers a tepid Hollywood ending, in which Erica’s not only let off the hook, she’s rewarded for her behavior. It doesn’t make sense, and it feels engineered so that the audience can walk out in a cheerful mood rather than serving the rest of the story.

Jordan is a fine director, and Foster is an extraordinary actress, so it’s possible that the film they originally envisioned was more complex than this sensationalistic revenge flick. Made all the more unfortunate by the fact that most ticket-buyers will fail to see beyond the gun violence to the more human story, “The Brave One” is simply a competent failure by a very good director.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=16354&reviewer=413
originally posted: 09/14/07 11:40:52
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Toronto International Film Festival For more in the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

3/08/19 Anne not credible and very boring- no excuse for her crimes 1 stars
9/21/17 morris campbell jodies got a gun not bad 4 stars
11/11/13 Monday Morning Hey Jody, show us your dick. 3 stars
10/11/09 Jeff Wilder Way more intelligence here than in most revenge films. 4 stars
4/05/09 Monday Morning I love happy endings - dogs live and slimebags die. 4 stars
9/07/08 Carol Durbin Not her best flick, kinda disappointing. 3 stars
8/14/08 Melissa Great movie. Makes you watch your back when you are at night. Foster is one tough lady! 5 stars
8/10/08 mr.mike Initially avoids unconvincing detours , then drives head-on into them. 3 stars
7/05/08 Ron Patterson Fantastic movie, great suspense all the way. Great ending! 5 stars
6/21/08 TAB Loved the Movie 5 stars
3/18/08 Leah Jodie is Great at everything she does 4 stars
3/01/08 Nanci Torres I love all her movies, great acting 5 stars
2/11/08 Matt Nothing new here, but Foster alone makes it memorable. Vaguely disappointing 3 stars
2/05/08 action movie fan very good death wish themed woman gets even after mugging-ambiguous and thoughtful 4 stars
12/12/07 William Goss Foster rises above mopey, morally muddled, and just unoriginal vigilante drama. 3 stars
11/16/07 anitamich I thought this movie was top notch! Not for the squeamish. Keeps your mind occupied. 5 stars
10/26/07 tracey chambers long, boring and I didnt care one way or another about her. 2 stars
9/27/07 Paul kersey Wait!! your stealing my movie 1 stars
9/26/07 The dude This movie is horrible i dont kno y anyone of u would like this rip off of death wish 1 stars
9/24/07 Ole Man Bourbon Well-made, compelling at times, but kinda silly 4 stars
9/24/07 wizred Good acting, descent directing, terrible script 2 stars
9/18/07 HarryCallahan Feminist Propaganda wankfest. 1 stars
9/17/07 texas I was underwhelmed by the plot (unbelievable) and was never suspended in disbelief. 3 stars
9/17/07 Hoosierchick The ending is a cheat but TH and JF interaction is great 4 stars
9/16/07 Private Its themes don't linger as they should but Foster is terrific. 4 stars
9/16/07 rebirthgil A felt that The Brave One was a unique action thriller, and it was also a provocative one. 4 stars
9/15/07 bullit16 I love Jodie Foster, but this was just not good 2 stars
9/14/07 Jason R It was really good. The acting was great and I really enjoyed it. 5 stars
9/14/07 Dark Enchantress amazing movie! The critics never appreciate good movies! 5 stars
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  14-Sep-2007 (R)
  DVD: 05-Feb-2008



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