The Brave One is a well crafted revenge thriller that could well become this generations Death Wish. There is an irony in that because the crime rate in the U.S.A is lower now that it has been in a very long time, laws are construed so as to give the home court advantage to the police and prosecutors every time, the constitution has had so many end runs done around it by the courts and the legislature that it's starting to look like a high school football team playing in the NFL. Still into the land of the free and the home of the brave comes The Brave One – Erica Bain.
Played with lock down intensity Jodie Foster delivers a solid performance of a woman who has encountered the dark side of humankind and been tempered into the kind of hardness that she could never have imagined. It is not giving anything away about the movie to say that Erica Bain and her fiancee are beaten – she is left in a coma and he is killed. The story really only launches from that point. Until the actual beating, an event which seems cinematically inspired by YouTube and the low life denizens that dwell there, the story is a little soft and a little sparse. There is just enough set up to let the viewer know that there are two people and they are in love. One is a doctor and one has a radio show and they are as happy as two people pursuing the American dream can be. The trick in any thriller isn't so much in creating circumstance which allow vengeance to be wrought by the heroine but rather in making us care about who the heroine is. In The Brave One this is most effectively accomplished as we watch Erica struggle with the after effects of coming out of a woman and discovering her husband to be has died. When she starts on her road to revenge we accompany her but at the same time we are joined by Detective Mercer (played with flawless assurance by Terrence Howard) who is a little bit star struck by Erica Bain and a little bit blind when it comes to seeing who she is.
The Brave One was a very good way to spend two hours on a Sunday afternoon and it is heartily recommended viewing. The only caveat – and for a two hour movie having one caveat isn't a bad thing – is the very end of the movie could have elevated this from a good movie to a great movie if only the right choice had been made. You will have to see the movie to see what is meant by that.