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The Brave One 2007

A woman struggles to recover from a brutal attack by setting out on a mission for revenge...

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Imdb rating: 6.8

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I went to a screening of The Brave One last night and came out happier than I expected.

I thought I'd go in and see a remake of Jodie Foster's other suspense movies like Flight Plan and Panic Room, with the same scared Jodie running about frantically - not exactly horrible, but not great either. I can happily say that that's not the case with The Brave One. Jodi is in essence a woman scorned; choosing to mete out her acceptance of her fiancee's death with vigilante justice.

Frankly, this movie is apparently a remake of Death Wish, with almost entire scenes basically copied from the earlier film. If you've seen Death Wish, then this might just be an up-to-date version of that flim for you. If you haven't seen Death Wish, then you'll be happy to see Foster in one of her better roles. The movie is well acted, very convincing, and in the screening I was in got the place very riled up. By the end of this film, the audience was in virtual bloodlust, applause erupted at each vigilante-killing, and we just begged for more. The film is gruesome in an American History X way moreso than a CSI way, and the very beginning might be hard to stomach for older viewers. Nonetheless, I'd pay to see this movie again.
One day, Jodie Foster, Terence Howard, and writer/director Neil Jordan (Breakfast on Pluto, The End of the Affair, The Butcher Boy, Michael Collins, The Crying Game, Mona Lisa, The Company of Wolves) will have to answer for The Brave One, a loose, uncredited remake of Michael Winner's Death Wish that's also an interminable, muddled, melodramatic, exploitative, retrograde revenge fantasy that's sadly a discredit to everyone involved. Why Foster, Howard, or Jordan became involved or what they saw in a formulaic, overwritten screenplay by Roderick Taylor and Bruce A. Taylor (American Outlaws) is a mystery that will, forevermore, remain unsolved. But we're getting ahead of ourselves here. Let's break it down, from the beginning.

Not surprisingly, The Brave One sets up the lead character, Erica Bain (Jodie Foster) for a hard, tragic fall from the outset. After all, no fall, no film. Bulky digital recorder in hand, Erica records the sounds and stories of New York City and shares them with the listeners of her radio program. At home, her life is no less perfect: she's engaged to David Kirmani (Naveen Andrew, in a thankless role), a well-respected doctor (are there any other kind?) at a local hospital. Walking their dog one night in Central Park, Erika and David let their guard down (assuming, of course, it was up). Several thugs appear seemingly out of nowhere and, after a heated exchange, brutally beat Erika and David. Erika barely survives. David doesn't. Erika emerges from a three-week coma traumatized and devastated, her perfect life gone and recovery seemingly impossible. The police's early efforts to find the thugs prove fruitless. Erika's attempts to follow up with the investigation lead nowhere.

Frustrated and still traumatized, Erika decides to buy a firearm, presumably for self-protection. When she discovers that New York has a 30-day waiting period before she can purchase a firearm, she buys a gun illegally. Before she's even going to a practice range, an opportunity to use the handgun arises in a convenience store shooting. Empowered by using the handgun (nope, no phallic symbols here), Erika begins to seek dangerous situations, first in a subway, then on a deserted street with a john, and on and on, until, finally, Death Wish- or Taxi Driver-style, she flings herself into a violent confrontation against the street thugs she's been looking for all along (actually, she hasn't been looking for them). A New York City detective, Mercer (Terence Howard), begins to suspect Erika's involvement in the vigilante shootings, but can't proceed until he uncovers enough evidence. But his deepening relationship with Erika's complicates matters.

That, briefly, is The Brave One, a sadly unoriginal revenge fantasy that alternates manipulative scenes of violence with scenes of Erika introspectively engaging in incredibly banal voiceover narration about life, liberty, and handguns. To call the voiceover narration awful is an understatement that doesn't quite capture how truly cringe-inducing it can be as the screenwriters try to insert profundity into otherwise banal observations about living in New York, mortality, and the empowering, if no less corrosive, effects of being both victim and perpetrator. As The Brave One wears on (and "wears" is the right word to use here), it also becomes more and more implausible with each coincidence. These often illogical or convenient coincidences ultimately reveal The Brave One for what it is: an exploitation flick masquerading as a serious drama about an important social problem. It's not.

Just as bad or even worse, though, is what The Brave One reveals about the producers' perspectives on race, gender, and class. While Americans of Indian descent fare best, The Brave One gives us a sensitive, respectable African-American detective to counterbalance one set of thugs who attempt to assault Erika on a subway, but gives no such balance to the depiction of Latino characters. The men who initially assault Erika and David are Latino in appearance and act remorselessly. Likewise with the shifty Chinese man who sells Erika the handgun and ammunition from a dark alley in Manhattan's Chinatown. Not surprisingly, women fare better in The Brave One, but not by much. Without a firearm, Erika is powerless (as one of the last scenes clearly indicates), but with a handgun, she can restore order and balance to crime-ridden New York (because after all, violent crime against the middle- or upper-classes is endemic in cities).

With a muddled, derivative storyline covering up a disturbing subtext, the only mystery here is what Jodie Foster and Neil Jordan were thinking when they decided to work on something well beneath their respective talents. Maybe it was the lure of working with each other that drew Foster and Jordon to The Brave One. Maybe one or both of them were suffering financial hardship and needed the sizable paycheck that comes with working on a film in Hollywood or maybe there was something in the screenplay that convinced them to make The Brave One together. Whatever the reason or reasons, the end result isn't going to add much to their curriculum vitas (in fact, quite the opposite).
"Meting out justice with cold steel is the quickest way to get a cheer out of your audience."
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The Brave One stars Jodie Foster as a Radio Head speaker who gets attacked and nearly beaten to death by gang members. she wakes up 3 weeks later to find her fiance is dead, and having to start her life all over again, alone. although i can now see where director Neil Jordan was trying to portray to the audience with this film (which is to thinking when it comes to the subject of Vigilante, and whether it should be considered morally right or wrong). Jodie Foster gives an Oscar Calibrating performance in which in my opinion is one of the best roles that she has ever done. She and Terrence Howard have amazing onscreen chemistry together. Foster's Performance was the literal thing that kept this film together, along with co-star Terrence Howard's performance as well. as far as i can remember, her performance is up to this point the year's best performance, and i will just go ahead and say it, GIVE JODIE FOSTER HER 3RD OSCAR OR AT LEAST HER 5TH NOMINATION. in reality, what Foster commented on that women who hold grudge's don't go around killing other people. they go around killing their children, families, and eventually themselves. the beating up scene is really brutal so if you have a weak stomach and you go see this, close your eyes. i am sorry to be so continuous on praising Foster's performance, but it connected to me in a way that it made the film give off an emotional twist that made my stomach turn into knots. The ending is at least the best part, because it makes the film come full circle.

btw this review is based upon Jodie Foster's performance, which normally i don't review like this but basically her performance held this film together and made those nerves get twisted up. the overall movie itself i'd give a 7.5/10


The story is simple. Something bad happens, and the protagonist takes it upon herself to seek justice. Sure there are a few character complexities along the way, but we see most of it coming the whole time. Director Neil Jordan has directed three four-star films: The Crying Game, Mona Lisa, and The Butcher Boy. Yet here he is unable to give it his unique touch. The cinematography is brilliant, reminiscent of the under-appreciated Marc Forster film Stay, and both Jodie Foster and Terrence Howard give flawless performances.

Despite a few events that happen too conveniently, it's an involving thriller. Can't imagine anyone else playing Erica. Jodie Foster's been in several great thrillers, including some very good ones in the last few years (Panic Room, Flightplan, and now The Brave One). I think it's pretty outrageous that some critics are pointing out the film's "morals" as a negative. It's not the critic's job to evaluate whether a script is morally or politically correct - a critic simply has to assess how well the whole thing was crafted, regardless of whether he/she agrees with the screenwriter's viewpoint on whatever issue the film may tackle. Heck, if critics were to consider morals to be an important factor, then by all means they should trash Tarantino's movies (which they don't, and rightfully so).
The Brave One
Starring Jodie Foster, Terrence Howard, Mary Steenburgen, and Nicky Katt.
Directed by Neil Jordan. (Breakfast on Pluto, The Good Thief, The End of the Affair, and Michael Collins)
Rated R.

"The Brave One" will probably not be on my top 10 this year but I still will be buying the DVD probably just because I love Jodie! See this film because it is still worthy of a ticket price
The Brave One bravely delves into vigilantism with an excellent cast of Jodie Foster as Erica Banes, Terence Howard as Detective Mercer, Naveen Andrews as Erica's fiance David, Ene Oloja as Erica's neighbor, Mary Steenbergen as the radio station manager and Jane Adams as Erica's friend Nicole. Nicole is used effectively to show how, after the mugging that leaves David dead and Erica comatose for three weeks, Erica profoundly changes, leaving her old self and Nicole behind, not even hearing her voice anymore. The movie has its weaknesses. Jodie Foster's radio voice before the mugging should have been as playful and seductive as it was when she talks to David. In radio, the voice is everything, and her breathy voice detracted from the wonders of ever-changing New York she chronicled. And yes, like New York, she changed, too, and like New York and Nicole, there are many effective uses of foreshadowing and character development. Which makes the other two weaknesses curious. There should have been something more convincing to show how Erica concluded she needed, of all things, a gun to feel safe. That would have made her transformation into a vigilante without any reading into the movie. There also should have been something more convincing showing how Mercer gravitated towards the choices he made during the climax. That would have eliminated the feeling that a false turn had been made in an otherwise creative ending that freed Erica from her death wish. That should be the point of a vigilante movie, that the vigilante be freed from this unaccepatble bloodthirst for vengeance. That is the point of this movie.

I read several critics claim "plot holes!" I didn't see any. The three things I mentioned above were weaknesses, not plot holes. What claims of plot holes I've read on message boards point more towards the viewer not paying attention, and weren't real plot holes at all. These critics need to be specific; otherwise, I suspect they too were distracted during the movie.

I read several critics claim the violence overwhelmed the great performances by Foster and Howard. The violence was extremely graphic but should have been expected for a movie of this subject matter, and I felt the violence wove into the character study very well. As such, this movie is not for the squeamish, for children or for those offended by graphic violence. It is also not for those who cannot get into deep scenes like those between Howard and Foster. If you enjoy both, and enjoy them with great performances, good storytelling and great filming, then you will enjoy this film.
the brave one



Does it deliver what it promises?
More or less, yes.

Is it entertaining?
Actually, it is. It's very dark, but there are few down moments.


Is it worth the price?
Unless you absolutely want to see Jodie Foster kick some big-screen ass, waiting for the DVD would be just fine.






THE BRAVE ONE
Directed by Neil Jordan
Stars Jodie Foster, Terrence Howard, Naveen Andrews, Mary Steenburgen
R - strong violence, language, and some sexuality

Jodie Foster is excellent in this vigilante thriller cum run-of-the mill police procedural about a radio host (Foster) who is brutally beaten and robbed and her fiance murdered. Changed and angry, she sets out to take revenge on people who commit heinous crimes.

Follows a pretty standard investigation formula, but is buoyed by Foster's performance and director Neil Jordan's morally ambiguous examination of the nature of revenge and vigilantism. No masterpiece and occasionally uneven, but it offers no easy answers and stays compulsively watchable.