Sunday, April 6, 2008


The Brave One is a contemporary vigilante revenge fantasy directed by Neil Jordan and starring Miss Thing. It's a well-made movie and is pretty much an old-school exploitation movie all gussied up in A-list Hollywood respectability, but that doesn't make it any less effective or enjoyable.
Jodie Foster turns in an excellent performance, one that is much more raw and satisfying than her turns in Panic Room and Flightlplan. She pretty much elevates the movie to a higher level than it deserves to be. It's also shot beautifully. The film covers its ass by making sure that the targets of the Foster character (Erica) are multiracial; nasty white men are prominently included in the mix of scumbags. Just so no one's left out, Erica purchases her illegal 9mm from an Asian guy. This movie doesn't show us a woman who is all that conflicted over what she's doing. There's some inner conflict, but not that much. The bottom line is, she's made up her mind and she's not turning back, no matter what. She then has to navigate the minefield that she's walking through as a result of the choice she's made. She never gives her choice a second thought, and that's one thing I really like about this movie: the lack of hand-wringing over the (im)morality of what she's doing.
There was a lot of interesting critical reaction and interpretation of the film, much of which focuses on socioeconomic class for some strange reason. Apparently, to depict such base human traits as hopelessness and revenge is to be tacky and should be derided by the educated and cultured among us. Well, la dee fucking dah. There's nothing wrong with a well-made revenge fantasy. It's a fantasy, for Christ's sake. It plays upon our fears of beng victimized, and our hope that, should we survive, we could mete out some justice where justice is due, especially if the system failed us. Obviously, this hardly ever happens in real life. That's where revenge fantasies come into play. For me, The Brave One is an enjoyable thriller that hits all the right marks and is extremely satisfying in the end. My only gripe (and it's a nearly insurmountable one): they actually use a Sarah McLaughlin song on the soundtrack at key "emotional" moments. It was damn near unbearable, and was completely out of sync with the tone of the movie. (I realize she's a respected musical artist, I'm just not into her).

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