THE BRAVE ONE
Violent Revenge and Vigilante Justice Get the Upper Hand
Release Date: September 14, 2007
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 119 minutes
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: Neil Jordan
Producer: Joel Silver and Susan Downey
Address Comments To:Richard D. Parsons, Chairman/CEO
Barry M. Meyer, Chairman/CEO
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
(A Time Warner company)
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522-0001
Phone: (818) 954-6000
THE BRAVE ONE stars the talented Jodie Foster as Erica Bain, an artsy radio pundit in New York City who broadcasts poetic musings about the city and its people. One early evening, Erica and her live-in fiancé, David, take a jaunt to Central Park with their large dog. The dog chases a ball under a tunnel bridge but doesn’t return. When Erica and David go to search for their dog, they encounter a group of inner city thugs who have tied up their dog on his leash. The thugs mercilessly beat David to death and Erica into a coma.
Erica finally comes out of the coma, but her whole attitude as well as her life has been changed. She buys an illegal handgun and, with her microphone in tow, starts roaming the streets and subways at night instead of during the day. The first chance she gets, Erica blows away an angry man who just murdered his girlfriend while the girl is working at a corner mini mart. Erica decides she likes the power and feeling of justice she gets from doing this and seeks out other criminals.
On her second foray of vigilante revenge, Erica takes the risk of sticking around while the police investigate the double homicide she just committed against two black thugs who threatened her life. There, she encounters Detective Sean Mercer (played by Terrence Howard, another talented actor), a smart cop who recognizes Erica because of her local radio show, of which he happens to be a fan.
Mercer and Erica become friends, but Erica’s continuing vigilante activities and, eventually, her revenge against the cruel, evil men who ruthlessly murdered her boyfriend, put that friendship to the test.
THE BRAVE ONE is an exciting, emotionally riveting thriller, but the on-air radio dialogue is pretentious and unrealistic at times and a few scenes have corny moments. Furthermore, the first three vigilante situations are too coincidental. For example, I spent six years riding the subways in Chicago, and I only encountered one criminal event, a purse-snatcher (I wasn’t the one carrying the purse). Yet, the heroine here runs into three such events in only a few weeks. Also, it’s very unlikely that she would have run into a murder at a mini mart just after buying her first gun and especially after having her boyfriend murdered in front of her. What are the odds of that?
The other, more relevant, problem with THE BRAVE ONE is the fact that it endorses both vigilante justice and violent revenge without much, if any, ambiguity. Wounding or even shooting down murderers and would-be murderers in the act is one thing, but violent lawless revenge or going out of your way to find the average street or subway thug to kill him is another. This is true even if we can all agree that punishment of violent criminals in the United States and other western nations should be much tougher (regrettably and inexplicably, we don’t all agree on that, which means that vigilante justice is even more attractive). When this moral failure is coupled with the movie’s extensive use of foul language and a nude unmarried sex scene between the heroine and her boyfriend, THE BRAVE ONE rates an unacceptable “excessive” rating from MOVIEGUIDE®.
THE BRAVE ONE is an exciting, emotionally riveting thriller, but is sometimes pretentious and corny with too many coincidences. At the end, it also endorses vigilante justice and violent revenge without much, if any, ambiguity. When this moral failure is coupled with the movie’s extensive use of foul language and a nude unmarried sex scene between the heroine and her boyfriend, THE BRAVE ONE rates an unacceptable “excessive” rating from movieguide.org.