The Brave One

Distributed By: Warner Bros. Pictures


Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            I was in the video store the other day, trying to catch up on movies that I had missed in the theaters and I spotted The Brave One.  I remember that this was a movie I had really wanted to see when it first came out.  I had thought that the trailer for the movie was wild.  Jodie Foster is a terrific actress and I thought she would definitely play the victim-turned-vigilante role well.  I couldn’t remember why I hadn’t gone to see the film in the theaters, but there was no way I was going to pass it up this time around. 

            The Brave One centers around New York radio talk show host Erica Baine, a woman at peace with herself both professionally and personally.  She and her fiancé David are planning the wedding of her mother-in-law’s dreams and they couldn’t be happier together.  Until one night, while walking their dog through Stranger’s Gate Park, Erica and David are brutally attacked by three thugs.  The attack leaves Erica in a coma, barely clinging to life.

            When she awakens, she learns that David succumbed to his injuries and has already been buried by the family.  As Erica struggles to deal with the loss of the man she loved more than anything, she becomes horrified to realize that she is suddenly afraid of the city she has lived in all of her life.  Living in fear is not something that Erica is used to.  Buying a gun for protection, Erica never expected to be using it so soon.  But when a man kills his wife in a grocery store and Erica is trapped in the aisles, she finds she has no choice.

            Finding courage in the strength of a handgun, Erica begins combing the streets at night, seeking out criminals and gunning them down – a modern day vigilante.  Hot on her trail is Detective Sean Mercer, top notch detective by day, lonely and frustrated soul by night.  Detective Mercer and Erica Baine strike up an unlikely friendship based upon the vigilante case he is investigating.  But when a criminal that Mercer has been working to capture for years suddenly ends up murdered, will he discover that the new friend in his life is the vigilante he has been hunting for weeks?

            While the theory behind this movie is believable, many circumstances in the film are not.  Firstly, if Erica is so terrified of the city after her attack, why is she willing to go with a complete stranger into an alley in order to buy a gun.  Shouldn’t she be terrified of him and/or the out of the way meeting place?  How does she learn to shoot so well so quickly?  I’ve fired a gun before, and I can honestly say, that although I am a good shot, it takes a while to get used to the bucking of a gun.  My first shots went wide.  Her first shot went right through her intended target’s throat!  I’m also wondering how it is that Detective Mercer is able to discern that the killer in the grocery store is the same as the one on a train simply by knowing the type of bullet used in the shooting.  Hello!  Can I see some forensic evidence before jumping to conclusions?  This is only Erica’s second act as a vigilante; it’s not as if she’s been on a spree yet where the detective can assume that they have a serial killing on their hands.

            I enjoyed being able to hear the thoughts running through Erica Baine’s mind after she has killed each criminal.  However, sometimes the thoughts don’t always coincide with her actions.  At first, she is horrified by the killing in the grocery store.  She is beside herself that she has just killed someone and yet her hands don’t shake.  After her second shooting, she starts acting as if this is something she has been doing for a while.  She still wants to stop and her thoughts are begging for someone to stop her.  Yet, she begins to get cocky, taking unnecessary risks.  Now, this could be interpreted as the act of someone who no longer cares what happens to them – I hope that was the intent of the movie’s writers.  Otherwise, this seems a tad pointless.

            The ending – well, I don’t want to spoil it for you, but the trailer tells you most of it.  You may remember the one scene in the trailer for the movie when Erica confronts one of the thugs killed her fiancé and stole her dog.  He asks her what she wants and she replies, "I want my dog back...BLAM!"   Probably the best part of the movie.  It was the movie trailer that made me want to see the film and the ending was everything I expected up until a point.  At that point, I sat their mouth agape, saying “Uh uh!”  I’m not really sure if I liked this ending, but I can honestly say that I wasn’t expecting it.

            I wish I could say that I enjoyed The Brave One, but the fact of the matter was that once the movie was over, I felt like something was missing.  I was disappointed.  Don’t you hate that – when you have been waiting for a long time to see a movie and then, when you finally see it you discover that it was nothing you expected it to be? 

            The only kudos I can give this movie goes to the actors.  Jodie Foster is incredible as Erica Baine.  Every emotion that runs through Erica – happiness, love, fear, anxiety, anger, depression – Jodie Foster is simply a pro when it comes to expressing raw emotion.  You can understand what she’s going through and even sympathize with the character even though you know she is breaking the law.  I’ve always enjoyed Terrence Howard’s performances in such movies as Ray, Crash, The Best Man and more.  I knew he could pull this role off without a problem.  He is wholly believable as the highly ethical police detective, frustrated with a world that allows criminals to roam free because he is handcuffed in how he is allowed to deal with them. Naveen Andrews is as sexy as ever as David Kirmani, Erica’s fiancé.  He doesn’t have much to say in this movie, unfortunately, but the hot factor is definitely there.

            Unfortunately, that is about all the praise I can give this movie.  I had high expectations for The Brave One, only to be so let down, that I couldn’t even sit through the Special Features which included deleted scenes and a couple of featurettes.  If you are a fan of Jodie Foster’s movies, then you’ll enjoy her acting in this film.  Otherwise, The Brave One is truly a waste of your time and deserves to remain on the rental store shelf.


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