How does one react to a life changing event? How can we cope when faced with a sudden loss that strips us down so that we feel naked and afraid? Can we move forward from such an event?
Jodie Foster‘s performance in The Brave One introduces to us to a woman who goes through such an event. She’s Erica Bain, a radio host who is ready to marry the love of her life David (Naveen Andrews). One night while walking through the park the couple is savagely attacked by a group of men who mock their victims and even go so far as to film the assault which leads to the death of Erica’s fiancé. After waking up from her coma, the sudden loss is a devastating blow to her. She feels alone and secludes herself from her friends. It’s nearly an impossible task to exit her building where she lives but once she has the courage to do so, it’s a heart-racing moment because her safety has been taken away.
She returns to work after a while and wants to move forward, but surviving the attack is only the easy part. She has no security for which she feels safe, her life has dramatically changed and her case isn’t in the midst of finding the men responsible. She looks for protection and buys a gun illegally from someone she meets after she ventures into a gun store. It’s not long when something happens that causes Erica’s life to be completely transformed; the moment when she first uses her weapon.
The Brave One is simple in its execution by leaving the action scenes far behind and instead focusing on the evolution of Erica’s character. She’s broken and realizes that just moving forward is only a simple use of words and the reality of moving on is much more difficult. She meets a Detective Mercer (Terrence Howard) who recognized her name when she was admitted to the hospital after her attack. They talk once he sees her again and begin a friendship. Erica’s likes the fact that he’s a good man and follows the law and even interviews him for her radio show after a series of “vigilante style” killings occur in the city — something that Erica knows about.
It’s very easy to see that The Brave One is inspired by Death Wish but handles the vigilantism in a delicate way. Erica isn’t looking to get messed with so she can just blow them away. There are moments in which life and death meet. Erica is a woman and we see her emotions throughout the film, something that Foster is very convincing at portraying. The Brave One doesn’t need shoot-outs to hold our attention. The script feels real and honest and we come to feel for Erica especially when her life is threatened.
As much as I enjoyed Death Sentence in the way that it showed the reality of taking vengeance, The Brave One has much more on its mind. Erica realizes that a stranger is inside of her and that until that tragic night she was attacked, she never looked at life the way she does now. It’s a great performance by Foster. A powerful woman doesn’t have to be physically strong, it’s all about their character and what it is they do. Foster is an ordinary woman whose life is flipped into a reality that she couldn’t have prepared for. Director Neil Jordan does a great job at setting up the relationship between Erica and Mercer. It feels real and nothing is forced upon us. Terrence Howard gives a stellar performance and I really enjoyed the scenes between him and Foster as they have great chemistry.
The Brave One packs an emotional punch but unfortunately the film underperformed in the box office by not surpassing its budget of $70 million. One thing to note is the lack of cool gunplay or fight scenes, this film doesn’t need them. It’s the story of a woman who suffers a tremendous loss and what ensues thereafter. Jodie Foster is magnificent in her performance because nothing she does feels out of the realm of reality. It’s emotional and I liked the idea of seeing the story through a woman’s point of view which provides a different take instead of a man just grabbing a gun and causing mayhem. It terms of a revenge flick, that is handled in way that feels plausible and when Foster hits the screen, we gasp at what she does.
The Brave One is a film that showcases Foster’s range as an actress and she excels in every way. Terrence Howard is great in every scene he’s in. Avoid the gunfire and mayhem and instead look at film with excellent performances and well written dialogue, it will keep you talking!