The Brave One (2007)
Reviewed on 2007 September 21
This is pretty much Death Wish on estrogen, but it's still very good, even if we've travelled this highway before. Erica Bain (Jodie Foster) is a talk radio show hostess with a program called "Street Walk", which is more NPR-than-thou. She fearlessly walks through the streets of New York, recording the sounds of the city and then philosophizing about them in dialogue that threatens to turn more purple than Barney the dinosaur, but she's still likable. I didn't even begrudge her for being engaged to Kevin (Naveen Andrews), a good-looking doctor that comes complete with a sexy English accent and a mother that likes Erica.
They're both brutally beaten one night while they're walking their dog, and Erica barely survives. Bewildered, scared, angry, Erica decides to take justice into her own hands when the police are too slow-moving to catch the scum. One cop, Detective Mercer (Terrence Howard), seems more empathetic to Erica than anyone, but he's very busy working on another case — good a man as he is, he's still an army of one. Erica feels like she's on her own. And she's bitter.
Neil Jordan does a powerful and even-handed job with this, without getting too preachy for either side. Yes, Erica's breaking the law right and left and yes, you empathize with her, even if you don't condone it. (Frankly, I think the dog's life was more valuable than the thugs that beat her.) The rhapsodizing about New York was laid on a little thick, but both Foster and Andrews got us to feel scared and horrified for them in the short build-up before the attack. And after all the Die Hards, Death Wishes and other guy flicks (which I love, don't get me wrong), it was interesting to see a small, erudite woman go all Paul Kersey for a change.
Three chocolate morsels, and something served very cold.