Rated: R for adult language, graphic violence, torture, gore.
Genre: Thriller Drama
Directed By: Neil Jordan
Running Time: 1:59
Review by: Felix Vasquez Jr.
Review Date: 1/21/08
Special Features:


My original thought going into the latest Neil Jordan movie was that he was really pushing for a revenge film. And then I also thought that Jodie Foster was going for yet another evil man movie with sister soldier fighting the cod swinging male monster. But in reality, “The Brave One” is neither of these things. Foster’s film is not a bashing on the male sex, it’s really more of a look at senseless violence and the inherent justification we attempt to convince ourselves of when it comes to acts of retribution. “The Brave One” surpassed every expectation I had, and I was glad to see that Jordan gives us much more than a revenge film. Jordan tries to get beyond the simple revenge film and provide more of a stern glimpse at vigilantism and murders that are sometimes more justified than the next.

Erica Bain is a local radio show host who tends to glorify New York through her poetic visions, but on a walk through Central Park with her boyfriend, her dog is snatched up from her and she and him are beaten near death. Erica awakens barely stable, and suddenly she learns that New York isn’t the city she once loved and, armed with a firearm, finds it in her to stop whatever crime she comes across.  

Very similar to “Ms. 45,” Erica dresses in unusual attire and always seems to find trouble and murder where ever she goes, and instantly she becomes a vigilante who feels it is her duty to rid the streets of criminals; this requires a suspension of disbelief. Jordan attempts to keep his world mired in realistic consequences and situations that aren’t always so easily resolved. Erica finds a nemesis in a conflicted Detective Mercer who is at first chasing her crimes, and then builds a friendship unaware of her deeds. Mercer is another one trapped by the law who feels he can’t properly do his job thanks to the confining guidelines of the law, which often leaves him with feelings of vigilance that manage to be lived through Erica. Jordan provides a wonderful display of raw acting talents from Terrence Howard and Jodie Foster who are dynamic playing off each other and individually.

Though the most unlikely of co-stars, their chemistry makes for the most engrossing cat and mouse word play Jordan captures well. As the evidence to her connection to the vicious crimes mount, Mercer more so realizes that this woman may have to suffer harsh punishment for her acts, and Bain doesn’t seem to mind it too much, as she welcomes being caught, but also willingly runs from her murders. Foster for once provides a great performance in an actual good film after slumming in muck like “Flightplan,” and Howard is just great sending signs to her that he will catch her, just on his own time. “The Brave One” is yet another revenge film of a sorts that attempts to provide us with honest questions of means to an ends, the exceptions to murder, and whether the ring of violence should have someone to stand up to put down the criminals, all the while hearkening back to pre-Giuliani New York.

For you to sit through “The Brave One,” you really have to put logic and suspension of disbelief on hold with a great endurance, because the writers really ask us to buy into these scenarios that just aren’t possible. Are we to believe that in this day and age in post Giuliani New York City, that a woman with a gun would be able to go out and become a vigilante without being caught in an instant by anyone beside the officer seeking her out? Are we to believe that an average New Yorker can really go out with a gun and fight crime and not eventually be seen as a criminal and inevitably spotted by a witness? Granted, it’s fiction and a pure violent fantasy but to really ask us to buy that this situation could occur is really very much of a stretch, in the end. As for the writers, the Taylor’s never seem to make up their minds what kind of statement they’re making. On the one hand they seem to be advocating Vigilantism in special circumstances asking us to consider that perhaps it can be a situation worth pursuing, and on the other hand they seem to be looking down their noses at it, particularly in the climax where they just undermine every undertone towards means to an end that they set across in the first half.

In spite of some demands of putting logic on hold, "The Brave One" features a Jodie Foster returning from the muck of previous roles, and ultra-hot, with some excellent takes on morality and vigilantism with a great dual role from Terrence Howard.



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