Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Brave One

by Reymundo Salao

Synopsis: New York radio host Erica Bain has a life that she loves and a fiancé she adores. All of it is taken from her when a brutal attack leaves Erica badly wounded and her fiancé dead. Unable to move past the tragedy, Erica begins prowling the city streets at night to track down the men she holds responsible. Her dark pursuit of justice catches the public's attention, and the city is riveted by her anonymous exploits. But with the NYPD desperate to find the culprit and a dogged police detective hot on her trail, she must decide whether her quest for revenge is truly the right path, or if she is becoming the very thing she is trying to stop.

Jodie Foster is a very powerful actress, and we have seen her in many movies before that has awarded her with numerous acting awards, but lately, her career has been taking on more mainstream movies, like "Flight Plan" and "Panic Room". All great movies, but not really movies that are subject of serious acting dramas.

Now comes her new movie, THE BRAVE ONE which is directed by Neil Jordan, whose track record includes many dramas with arthouse appeal; "The Crying Game", "The End of the Affair", and "Michael Collins". His work in "Interview with the Vampire" which is his more mainstream work is defined with his mastery of more character-based dramas.

In this movie, Foster gets to utilize her acting abilities on a project which fits well with her prowess. THE BRAVE ONE has a storyline that mirrors many revenge movies. But this one is so true to its subject matter. Tragedy and revenge does not turn you into Rambo, it actually turns you into a stranger, and ugly side of you. Or so does this film portray. The movie has a more dramatic and psychological aspect, than your usual heavy-metal-soundtracked vengeance-themed action movie. It takes you on a more realistic ride of going through the excruciating pain of loss, inner confusion, emptiness, helplessness, and then a transformation into somebody who implements one’s own definition of justice.

This could easily have been dismissed as a remake of Charles Bronson's classic vengeance movie "Death Wish", but with a female main character, the depth of drama is far more defined. Probably because women have a more defined psychological and emotional detail than men do. A male hero would just jump (riding their testosterone) to all-out revenge; but with a female character, we see that she has to weigh the circumstances, and a push of chance would have to drive her to become the vigilante we expect her to be.

Also among the cast list is Nicky Katt, Mary Steenburgen, and Terrence Howard, who’s known for his role in "Hustle & Flow" and "Crash" where he won numerous acting awards for. His performance in THE BRAVE ONE impressively melds with Foster's, playing a detective who is investigating the vigilante murders that have been going on in the city.

THE BRAVE ONE is easily a movie that has great impact on its audience. To call it a Revenge Movie would be fair, but to call it a Revenge Drama would be appropriate. Solid and powerful acting, fabulous screenplay, and an impressive direction, THE BRAVE ONE is a movie that is indeed worth watching.