Brave One

Movie Review by Susan Hodgetts

Starring: Jodie Foster, Terrence Howard, Naveen Andrews, Mary Steenburgen
Director: Neil Jordan

I could write this entire review about the brilliance of Jodie Foster, but I’ll try and rein myself in to simply say another fine performance, full of grit and depth, in an intelligent and thought-provoking drama.

Foster plays radio talk show host Erica Bain, an avid New Yorker, enthused by her city, her personal life and her career. Her life is perfect, and she is about to marry the love of her life, David Kirmani (LOST’s Naveen Andrews). You guessed it. All this is abruptly shattered when, out for a walk with their dog in Central Park one night, the pair are violently attacked and left for dead. Unfortunately Erica’s fiance does not survive, but Erica pulls back from the brink. But only just. When she has regained consciousness, she begins to live on that brink, as, traumatised by loss and fear, she takes matters into her own hands by arming herself against the city she once loved.

And there begins a different journey for Erica, one she takes along with NYPD detective Sean Mercer (Terrence Howard), at once both her enemy and her ally as she begins a dramatic quest to set things straight.

Terrence Howard (HUSTLE AND FLOW, CRASH) also gives a hugely impressive performance, full of charisma and along with Foster the pair create an intriguing sympathetic/antagonistic pull.

The idea of Erica taking matters into her own hands at such a dramatic length to settle scores is both a great and controversial idea, although hopefully no one will take this as a blueprint about how to conduct their lives! But this anarchy/justice debate in what feels like an increasingly lawless society in modern times is exactly the one the film intends to provoke, and although the end is a bit Hollywood sugar coated and certainly morally dubious, everyone is likely to relate to Foster’s character.

The film could also be accused of idealism; it’s certainly idealistic to suggest that Foster’s character has never encountered anything bad in New York up until the point of the attack, and herein lies a main flaw, making her journey arc that bit too extreme as to stretch credibility a little. But for its flaws the film is hugely interesting and enjoyable, and a rumination on identity of the self.

5 out of 6 stars

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