The Brave One
, 06 Oct 2007
When talk radio DJ Erica Bain (Foster) and her fiancé (Andrews) are attacked she is sent into a coma. Awaking three weeks later she discovers that her fiancé died of his injuries. Unable to deal with her grief she buys an illegal gun and takes to dealing out vigilante justice, all while befriending the cop (Howard) working the vigilante case.
Even if The Brave One were a better than average film, hell even if it were a great one, Id have trouble giving it a higher score than the one assigned at the end of this review. That is for one reason; its been a very long time since Ive seen a film that was so out and out morally repugnant. But lets save that for later.
On the plus side of things there is Jodie Foster. She really is one of the all time great actresses and though there are times (the godawful radio monologues) that she seems uncomfortable in Ericas skin she does grow into the part and brings conviction and steel to a script that deserves so much less than she gives it. Much of Terence Howards performance is rather sleepy, but in his scenes with Foster he comes alive and they conjure a chemistry that is pretty compelling and should really have been exploited with the ending.
Sadly thats pretty much all the good news. Otherwise this is at best a scattered revenge thriller with a protagonist lacking a clear agenda until the final few minutes of the film. The script is a series of contrivances, particularly when it comes to the way in which, after she wakes up, criminals seem to follow Erica around like a virus.
Theres nothing to care about here, Ericas life before the attack isnt filled in and her friends and colleagues barely feature (on that why use someone as enormously gifted as Jane Adams then give her just one, completely pointless, scene?) and so we lack a connection to her or a reason to engage with her.
Its technically competent, but little more, theres nothing inventive here from Jordan, nothing to suggest hes doing more than taking the paycheque this time out.
Worse than anything else is the ending of the film. Throughout we are supposed to basically be on Ericas side but the final few scenes so nakedly endorse what she does they could almost be called incitement. I very nearly walked out. And so it is that a not very good movie becomes one that ought to be actively denounced; as a movie its not good, morally it is filth. Avoid.
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