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Vengeance is Mine...but Who am I?

  • Feb 9, 2008
Rating:
+5
Trauma, severe trauma, can unleash aspects of the human personality that may appear as a stranger within. Such is the premise for this well-constructed film by Neil Jordan (screenplay by Roderick Taylor and Bruce Taylor), and while the neither concept of trauma-altered personality or revenge tales is new, THE BRAVE ONE alters the vengeance idea just enough to make it credible and to even draw the viewer into believing that what the character is doing is justified and right! And that is perhaps the most frightening aspect of this terrifying film.

Erica Bain (Jodie Foster) is a night radio talk show performer, a woman who walks the city of New York gathering sounds and observing the mysteries of the 'safest big city' and relates her observations poetically to a large radio audience. Erica is engaged to young physician David (Naveen Andrews) and the couple are very much in love. One night on an evening stroll with their dog they are attacked by thugs, beaten with pipes, and David is killed while Erica narrowly survives. Upon awakening from her coma she is devastated by her loss of David and becomes a strangely haunted woman, unable to sleep, unable to get immediate help from the police, and turns to purchasing a gun in an attempt to right the wrongs she has suffered. This new 'person' or 'stranger within' happens to witness a murder in a little store and to her amazement she responds by killing the murderer. A similar situation happens on the subway where two thugs threaten people, threaten Erica, and Erica again responds by killing the thugs. She feels driven to avenge the death of her David, but at the same time fears her own inner stranger. Erica returns to her radio show, under changing instructions form her boss Carol (Mary Steenburgen), and finds the changes in her psyche result in bracing her listeners about fear on the streets. In her audience is Detective Mercer (Terrence Howard) who has personal problems related to the fact that he has been unable to arrest a known killer. Mercer connects with Erica in various ways, she interviews him for her show, and the two bond. Erica trusts Mercer, wants to share what she is doing, yet hears his frustration about not being able to seek his own brand of revenge frustration against the oily killer he pursues, and decides to eliminate that trauma for Mercer. As the tension builds, the identity of Erica's assailants is discovered, and how she deals with these thugs (and with Mercer's interaction in the solution) forms the surprising ending for the film.

Too little has been written and said about the quality of performances from both Foster and Howard in this tense thriller. These two actors deliver performances so sensitive in execution that memories of previous similar films evaporate. This is a tough film to watch for all the violence not only on the screen but from within the characterizations by the actors (with the capable direction of Neil Jordan), but it is for this viewer one of the strongest films of the year. Perhaps now that the DVD can be viewed within the safety of the home more people will pay attention to a film that deserves awards. Grady Harp, February 08

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More The Brave One reviews
Quick Tip by . May 21, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
I'm having quite a few TV dinners and lunches these days due to the HOT weather outside so this is one of those desserts that accompanied. Jodie Foster picked movies with good plots in the past. I'm not so sure about this one though. Did I enjoy it? Not really! Did I take anything away with it? Not quite! It's one of those very forgettable movies as far as I'm concerned despite the fact that I think Foster can act and is good!      The low rating simply reflects …
review by . September 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Not your typical vigilante flick
       "revenge"      The whole theme of this movie was about revenge, and one womans struggle crossing the line from Law Abiding Citizen to Armed and Dangerous Vigilante.   To be honest like most movies i see these days i frowned upon this movie. I thought it was going to be no good, when i actually watched it though i was pleasantly suprised.      While the very beginning is a little slow at the start it takes …
review by . December 18, 2009
I thought that this would be another Death Wish rehash but it was actually a lot better than I thought. Jodie Foster is a radio personality who is about to be married. Her fiance is murdered by some hoodlums and Foster left for dead. When she recovers in the hospital she seems to be possessed by a dark force seeking out revenge against all violent evil-doers. Some scenes are similar to Death Wish and Bernard Goetz. And like Charles Bronson in Death Wish she is being persued by New York Detective. …
review by . November 15, 2008
Short Attention Span Summary (SASS)     1. Erica (Jodie Foster) & David (Naveen Andrews ) are engaged to be married   2. They go walking the dog in Central Park at night   3. Naveen Andrews gets "Lost" for good this time   4. Erica acquires a gun with a whole lotta ammo.   5. Dirty Erica goes "Dirty Harry"   6. Psychological drama follows, debating right from wrong.   7. Can Detective Sean Mercer (Terrence Howard) …
review by . October 26, 2008
Pros: Um, none.     Cons: Everything...     The Bottom Line: In the end The Brave One is a rather silly wannabe action movie, wherein the talents of people who should know better are terribly and tragically wasted.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot. What in the world is going on with Jodi Foster? Does she feel like a victim of life? Since becoming a single mother her movies have taken a decidedly …
review by . October 17, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: n/a     Cons: n/a     The Bottom Line:   "I wanna be brave  The way it always was   Is no longer good enough"  ~Nichole Nordeman       While I don't advocate violence, or revenge, I certainly understand the premise of The Brave One. It focuses on a relationship between David and his soon-to-be bride, Erica. Oh, yeah, and their dog. David is fairly successful, in he medical profession. …
review by . April 14, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
I thought that this would be another Death Wish rehash but it was actually a lot better than I thought. Jodie Foster is a radio personality who is about to be married. Her fiance is murdered by some hoodlums and Foster left for dead. When she recovers in the hospital she seems to be possessed by a dark force seeking out revenge against all violent evil-doers. Some scenes are similar to Death Wish and Bernard Goetz. And like Charles Bronson in Death Wish she is being persued by New York Detective. …
About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Ranked #97
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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Director Neil Jordan (THE CRYING GAME) injects the standard revenge saga with new life by asking difficult questions about the meaning of courage in his thriller THE BRAVE ONE. Jodi Foster (THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, INSIDE MAN) showcases her knack for playing characters with a mix of strength and vulnerability, while Terrence Howard's tender charisma comes through IN Mercer, the cop who knows more than he's letting on. Foster plays New Yorker Erica Bain, a radio talk show host happily engaged to a doctor (Naveen Andrews, LOST). The walls of Erica's safe existence come tumbling down one night during a walk through Central Park with her boyfriend, during which they are mugged, he is killed, and she is severely beaten. When she wakes from a coma three weeks later, Erica's eyes assume a haunted look and she fears the city she once loved. So she buys a gun, and when she witnesses a domestic fight and murder in an all-night convenience store, she uses it to save herself. This first murder opens the door to oth...
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