The Brave One (2007)

DVD Cover (Warner Brother)
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Overall Rating 67%
Overall Rating
Ranked #1,695
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Struggling to recover emotionally from a brutal assault that killed her fiancÚ and left her in a coma, a radio personality begins a quest for vengeance against the perpetrators that leaves a bloody trail across New York City. --IMDb
Jodie Foster
Jodie Foster
Terrence Howard
Terrence Howard
Nicky Katt
Nicky Katt
Naveen Andrews
Naveen Andrews
Mary Steenburgen
Mary Steenburgen
Review by bluemeanie
Added: September 16, 2007
There are very few actresses today who can command a film like Jodie Foster. Whether you love her or hate her, you have to respect her ability to deliver a phenomenal performance in every film she touches. Next to Meryl Streep, I really do consider her to be the greatest living actress working in the business these days. "The Brave One" is her first film since "Inside Man". She seems to be on a streak of making one film every couple of years, which is a shame because every time we see her on screen it seems like a decade since her previous film. This time she teams up with one of the most visually masterful directors working today, Neil Jordan, who is the same man who brought us classics like "The Crying Game", "Interview With the Vampire" and "Breakfast On Pluto", as well as the underrated "In Dreams" and his earlier "In the Company of Wolves". His resume reads like someone who delves into the darker materials more frequently, and that would be true. That said, I would have to say "The Brave One" is his most mainstream film to date. It doesn't really seem like a Neil Jordan film, but yet you always know you're watching a Neil Jordan film.

The film stars the great Jodie Foster as Erica Bain, a New York enthusiast who hosts her own radio show, "Streetwalk", where she records the sights and sounds of the city she loves. She is engaged to marry a doctor, David (Naveen Andrews) and she loves her life. One night, while walking their dog in the park, they are mugged by some street thugs who beat David to death and send Erica to the hospital, barely alive. By the time she wakes up three weeks later, David has already been buried and she is left to figure out what to do with her life. At first, she can't even leave the house, too afraid that someone will attack her. When she realizes the police are doing very little too help solve her case, she purchases a gun and soon is faced with a situation that tests her ability to inflict violence on another human being. She realizes she can under the right circumstances. Erica then begins walking the streets at night, recording sounds for her show, and putting herself in situations that require her to use violence on others - but only on criminals. Terrence Howard stars as Detective Mercer, who is investigating a series of random homicides linked to someone called 'The Vigilante', while also forming an odd friendship with Erica. The film chronicles Erica's discovery that she is a completely different person since the death of her husband. It follows her as she goes down a dark both of revenge that eventually takes her to the men that started it all.

There is so much depth to this story - most of it seen and some of it unseen. This film shows what it's like to lose a loved one, especially under such violent and unexpected circumstances. How would you recover? How could you get on with your life? The film focuses primarily on how a person changes under such dramatic circumstances and how a person can discover a different side they might have never seen before. Jodie Foster brilliantly portrays all of these complex emotions and discoveries in a role that is definitely worth an Academy Award nomination. Foster hasn't been this strong since "Nell" in terms of her ability to play all of the emotions so perfectly. She turns Erica Bain into an every woman who must find the courage to carry on in a city that she doesn't really know how to love anymore. Director Neil Jordan makes this film work because he pays so much attention to every detail of Erica's life. We see how her job is affected. We see how her relationship with her friends is affected. We see how all of these different stages of grief that she experiences, and how she finally figures out how to control that grief. She is never conveyed as a hero, but she is never conveyed as a villain either. Some people say this find condones vigilante justice, but I think it shows how devastating it can be to a person's life and how, in the end, no amount of killing or retribution will ever bring back the person that started it all.

This picture is being compared to "Death Wish", the female version, and nothing could be further from the truth. Both are revenge films, but the similarities stop there. "The Brave One" is far more of a complete film because it goes to great lengths to show you why she is doing what she is doing and how you might do the same thing in her shoes. Terrence Howard is perfectly cast as Mercer, the detective who becomes entranced with Foster long before he figures out she's the person he's really out looking for on the streets. Foster and Howard really are the only significant characters in the film, except for Naveen Andrews' small role as David and Mary Steenburgen as Erica's boss, who encourages her descent into maelstrom unknowingly. And, the underrated Jane Adams pops up as a friend, and I just assume some of her other scenes were cut out of the film. The ending of the film caught me totally off guard. I did not expect what I received, and director Neil Jordan did a great job of disguising it for the audience and making it enjoyable. But, that said, I wouldn't say the ending really is enjoyable. You still know this character is not going to have a normal life and how can she go back from doing what she is doing and try to live a regular life?

There is just so much to admire and appreciate about "The Brave One". It's one of those rare films that really is the total package, and it's one of my favorite films of the year. Jodie Foster is nothing short of brilliant and I want to see her name on a ballot come awards season. I can't think of any other actress who could pull this film off - not a single one. "The Brave One" is very violent and very graphic, in classic Neil Jordan style, so be aware of that while watching. He doesn't sugar coat anything for you and there are some painful hospital scenes after Foster is first brought in, so it might be difficult to watch for some people because of the realism, but it only helps add to that feeling of sympathy evoked for Foster's character. "The Brave One" is a terrific film and a real gem, and I don't think you'll be disappointed. I can't wait to see it again.

waxtadpole3657 #1: waxtadpole3657 - added 12/12/2007, 01:33 AM
I really wanted to see this when it hit the theaters, but unfortunately I didn't get to. I'm hoping the DVD comes out some time soon.
Crispy #2: Crispy - added 06/09/2008, 01:54 PM
Going to have to disagree with you yet again. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a bad movie, but the Death Wish similarities struck me as far more prevalent then you're saying. Made it seem more like a watered down remake than an actual movie.
bluemeanie #3: bluemeanie - added 06/09/2008, 02:14 PM
I understand where you're coming from, but I thought "The Brave One" fought against most of those comparisons by having far more depth and development than "Death Wish". "The Brave One" wasn't as focused on the revenge factor as "Death Wish". For most of "The Brave One", revenge is not the driving factor at all. I guess that is why I was lesser on that charge than you.
Rik #4: Rik - added 07/03/2008, 11:22 AM
I watched this by myself at the theaters, because none of my friends wanted to.

Easily one of the best movies of 2007 and highly underrated.
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