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March 1, 2021
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The Brave One
(2007-09-21)
(wgvu) - The Brave One Coming on the heels of the Kevin Bacon vigilante movie Death Sentence, is Jodie Foster's endeavor into the subgenre with The Brave One. The Bacon movie is based on a novel by Brian Garfield, who also wrote Death Wish, which solidified the theme into a franchise. The Brave One is directed by Irishman Neil Jordan, who made The Crying Game, Michael Collins, and The End of the Affair, among others. Jordan brings artistic gravitas to the project, casting New York City first as a vibrant, colorful, expressive metropolis, and then quickly changes the vision to shadows, menace, and claustrophobia. Jodie Foster is Erica Bain, a radio producer and host who walks the sidewalks and streets with a recorder and microphone taping the ambient sounds of the city. She hosts a weekly program where she riffs on the Big Apple, mixing in the sounds she captures. Erica is engaged to David Kirmani, who is played by Naveen Andrews, best known on ABC's LOST. One night the two are walking their dog in a corner of Central Park when they're beaten terribly by a gang of thugs. Suddenly Erica is plunged into an overwhelming panic, trembling with anxiety. This washes over into her radio program. (clip) At first she can't bare to leave her apartment. Jordan directs these sequences with daylight beaming into the cracks of her window shades, and from an open door with laser like intensity. When she has the strength to leave, she wound tight, flinching at every movement, wild eyed and paranoid. She tries to buy a gun. (clip) When she can't get one the legal route, she buys a street weapon. Almost immediately she finds herself in the middle of a domestic dispute that escalates to homicide. She kills a man in self defense. Detective Mercer, played by Terrence Howard, and Detective Vitale, played by Nicky Katt, are on the case. After Erica is involved with a shooting on a train, the Detectives are on that scene as well. (clip) Detective Mercer just happens to be a fan of Erica's radio program, and when she returns to the scene of one of her shootings, he spots her. She ends up interviewing him, and they strike up a friendship. But when coincidences keep adding up, and the more he finds out about the crimes committed against her, he begins to suspect. (clip) The Brave One is very well made movie that didn't quite translate into enjoyment. It's a tough ride at times, not because of the violence, but because the filmmakers and actors relay the inner life of Erica Bain so very well. We feel her anxieties as they mount, we're choking with fear when she is, and we feel the flashes of memories as she relives the beating that nearly killed her. The best part of The Brave One is how it portrays Erica as vigilante. Unlike the Kevin Bacon movie, or its predecessor starring Charles Bronson, it never relishes the vengeance that happens. Howard and Foster are both top notch, and shine in this movie. But you better be ready for the pall The Brave One casts on its audience. © Copyright 2021, wgvu