Struggling to recover emotionally from a brutal assault that killed her fiancé and left her in a coma, a radio personality begins a quest for vengeance against the perpetrators that leaves a bloody trail across New York City.
Erica Bain is a happy radio host from a city she loves and with a fiancé she adores. However, a brutal attack in New York's Central Park changes her life forever, leaving her in a coma for 3 weeks and her fiancé dead. In an attempt to feel safer after the attack, she buys a gun. However New York does not feel the same as it did anymore and Erica has several encounters where she is not afraid to use her new gun. Everyone is talking about a vigilante and Erica is forced to talk about them too on her radio show...Written by
The movie bears a lot of similarities to Death Wish (1974) and Death Wish II (1982), Charles Bronson-starred movies with a vigilante theme. Some of the shootings are similar; interrupting a rape, two muggers on a subway, and the finale assisted by a cop/ward. Both had news clips and extensive discussion about morality, fear, revenge, PTSD, helplessness and problems with the justice system. See more »
Police say there were no eyewitnesses to a killing on the New York subway and resort to tracking down a passenger to get a possible description...even though NYC subway conductors look up and down the platform at each stop to make sure doorways are clear, which is why this train remained stopped with its doors open when one of the bodies fell out. See more »
[voiceover, doing her radio show]
I'm Erica Bain. And as *you* know, I walk the city. I bitch and moan about it. I walk and watch and listen, a witness to all the beauty and ugliness that is disappearing from our beloved city. Last week took me to the gray depths of the East River where Dmitri Panchenko swims his morning laps, like he has every morning since the 1960s. And today I walked by the acres of scaffolding outside what used to be the Plaza Hotel. And I thought about Eloise....
[...] See more »
Professional enough to fool some into thinking it is better than it is, but ultimately this is a basic and dodgy thriller that doesn't engage or thrill
Erica Bain is a talk-radio host in New York, specialising in spots that are close to poetry on various subjects. She has everything going for her in her career and also in her personal life as she prepares for her marriage to Dr David Kirmani. They are walking their dog in the park as they often do when their dog goes missing. They find it shortly after but a group of young men have found it already. They demand money for the dog back but it doesn't end there as they get more violent and begin beating the couple while another of the group films it. It is some time before Erica comes to in hospital badly beaten and reeling from the news of David's death. Scared of the places she once loved, Erica gets an unregistered gun for protection but soon finds herself in situations where others would seek to hurt her. She reacts with the gun, killing three criminals in two incidents. While shocked by her behaviour, she is also remarkably calm.
The Brave One was a "big" film in regards posters and cinema coverage in the UK but yet none of the marketing really told me much about it and seemed to concentrate on the big names involved rather than content. I'm sure there were trailers that did it well that I didn't see but to me the impression was of a film that didn't seem sure how to sell itself to the audience. It LOOKED liked it was just a modern version of Death Wish but the presence of Foster made me hope that it would be more not to mention the polished looks, big budget and Hollywood-feel. The film doesn't start in a way that would suggest that though as we are introduced to the "perfect" man in Foster's life, knowing that his sole function in the film is that he will die which he does at the hands of "Bad Men". After this we do get some tentative steps as Bain struggles with her fear and anger but, once she has her outlet the film doesn't look back.
The plot is straightforward all the way. The delivery suggests that it wants to come over as complex and deep but it is never anything of the sort and instead it is a surprisingly simplistic affair that is no better than Winner's original film. The motives of the characters are drawn in big blocks with no detail or finesse and, as a result, I was left uninterested and unconvinced by the characters never really believing them. It plods along with its black/white politics to a conclusion that is a morally-murky cop-out that was only memorable for how "have my cake and eat it" it all was. I shouldn't have been that surprised though as this was in keeping with the whole film.
Foster tries her best but there is nothing for her to work with of interest and the material doesn't offer her complexity to explore or development to exploit. Instead she focuses on "looking intense" most of the time, perhaps hoping that in itself this will suffice (it doesn't). Conversely Howard just does this weird "softly complex" thing that brings just as much depth (or as little rather) to his character as Foster does to hers. The support cast all do as required nobody stood out for reasons of performance but rather for their fame in other things (Lost's Andrews) or family (Lenny Kravitz's daughter Zoë).
The Brave One is all dressed up in its fancy clothes to look like a modern, thoughtful take on Death Wish. It even has big, award-winning stars at its helm to show that it is anything but sordid or simplistic. Problem is nobody passed this message to the writers and the material is as morally dubious as it is basic. Money has clearly been spent and the film LOOKS good but ultimately it goes nowhere, offers little and has morals that are hard to take and don't even trying to argue that it is a grey area of complexity, instead making it all black and white. Professional enough to fool some into thinking it is better than it is, but ultimately this is a basic and dodgy thriller that doesn't engage or thrill.
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