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.
David Kirmani,a medical professional, lives in an apartment with his sweetheart, Erica Bain, a radio host, and his dog. They usually take the dog out for a stroll in nearby Central Park and let him run and fetch. One day while at the park they let the dog run without a leash, and when he does not return or respond to their calls, they frantically search for him. They eventually find him being held by three men who want a reward. When David refuses, they start to molest Erica and David intervenes. Two of the men assault the couple, while the third uses a camcorder to film this incident. Erica is knocked unconscious, and regains her senses several days later in a hospital. She is told the shocking news that David was killed and the dog is missing. A traumatized Erica returns home to try and regain her life. She also visits the police station but does not get much help. Fearful of a repeat of this type of incident, she gets an unlicensed gun and carries it with her all the time. One day ...Written by
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 »
Terrance Howard as Detective Mercer asks Jodie Foster's Erica how she came back from her heinous assault. Foster tellingly admits, "You become someone else " Jodie Foster is powerful in Neil Jordan's "The Brave One". Jordan's "The Brave One" could have easily slipped into a feminist version of say perhaps "Death Wish". Foster's heart felt performance and fierce intelligence compel and enroll. Her distinct gift is that she always plays as smart as her character. She inspires with authenticity, humanity, and sheer will. Terrance Howard is an awesome screen partner and foil. He is stunning. "The Brave One" falters a little in its forced resolution; however, the screenplay and story by Roderick Taylor, Bruce Taylor, and Cynthia Mort is the tale of a woman's stand in the face of fear. I say that in the most apolitical way. "The Brave One" may be criticized for possibly glorifying vigilante justice masked as vengeance. I believe for the smart and talented Jordan and Foster, that was not what attracted them to the project. There is a poignant and moving scene as Erica (Foster) returns to her job as New York Public Radio talk show host. After a squirming lapse of silence, Erica bares her naked soul as she talks about her path back to normalcy, acknowledging she is now one of "the people who live in fear". It is hard to dismiss "The Brave One" as populist exploitation. I think that for Foster's Erica, she simply draws her line in the sand. I think that resonates with a lot of people. When I saw "The Brave One" last night, the audience was applauding at the movie's conclusion. I have not heard that in a long while. "The Brave One" strikes an emotional and cultural chord.
Jodie Foster plays Erica Bain, who is a Public Radio talk show host. Erica records the sounds of New York City and comments upon them on her show. Therein lays her affinity to the city. Erica is engaged to David Kirmani (charming Naveen Andrews), a star physician. They have a great life, and are preparing for their wedding. Then one evening while taking their dog for a walk in Central Park, they are viciously attacked by 3 thugs, who actually record the malicious beating. Note the attack is visually savage and ruthless. Erica awakes in the hospital weeks later to discover that David is dead and buried. Devastated and her life profoundly altered, Erica returns home to begin her recovery. Here Jordan and Foster touchingly illustrate Erica's haunting memories of David, in the context of the attack. Jordan's claustrophobic camera angles punctuate Erica's isolation. Eventually able to muster the courage to leave her apartment, Erica is paralyzed in fear. In an act of desperation, she illegally buys an automatic handgun. The guy selling her the gun, even says to her, "What happened to you?" Soon thereafter, Erica kills a vicious killer at a liquor store. She must now fly under the legal system radar. She chooses this dark path of vigilante justice, which can not end well. Terrance Howard plays Detective Mercer, who is vehemently frustrated by the legal system he defends, investigates the series of vigilante style murders. The charismatic and sharp Mercer, eventually hypothesizes the killer may be a "woman with a grudge". Turns out that Mercer had met Erica before. They also form a touching bond out of both compassion and shared loneliness.
Granted here Jordan and Screenwriter Mort are manipulative. Possessed by anger and vengeance Erica kills the vilest of human beings. However, Foster never plays Erica as an avenging superhero. She is fearful, angry, and poignantly acknowledges that she may be becoming no better than the criminals she kills. She is clumsy, surviving on her smarts, and all heart. On paper what she is doing is wrong. However, as an audience there is an element of muted admiration and redemption in seeing Foster's Erica emerge from helpless victim. Foster brilliantly captures Erica's transformation and quiet loss of humanity. Like in all great tragedy, the hero must come to terms with that he or she eventually becomes that which they despise. It is all about how the hero reconciles that. To that end Terrance Howard is amazing as Erica's voice of consciencehe commands an understated and quiet power.
Jordan's twist at the end may be contrived; however, I don't think that it dilutes or undermines "The Brave One"'s power. We are all for Erica's redemption and reconciliation of her very soul. Jodie Foster is so powerful and compelling as hero Erica. This is one of her best performances, and award worthy. Her performance resonates with us-- the worst and best in humanity. Neil Jordan's storytelling is edgy and brilliant. "The Brave One" is uncompromising film-making, and well worth view and thought.
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