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Mystery Movies - The Brave One

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Starring: Jodie Foster, Terrence Howard, Nicky Katt, Naveen Andrews, Mary Steenburgen
Director: Neil Jordan
Number of discs: 1
Rated: R
Warner Home Video

You have seen The Brave One before perhaps not as a Jodie Foster vehicle but you have seen it. It was a movie starring Charles Bronson or Jean Claude Van Dam or Bruce Lee or Cynthia Rothrock – well you get the idea. The Brave One is a contemporary pseudo feminist reinterpretation of Death Wish.

Jodie Foster is much easier on the eyes than Charles Bronson and as equally gifted a performer in this mystery action movie which may sound like faint praise but the action genre has a whole list of demands which are quite different from mainstream cinema. Radio hostess Erica Bain thrives on sound and being invisible. Erica loves New York City, she has a great apartment and a man with whom she is very much in love (Naveen Andrews). Erica lives in an insular world which is abruptly shattered when she and her boyfriend are attacked in the park one night while walking their dog.

The rest of the movie pretty much proceeds as one might expect with the obligatory hospital scenes, the physical recovery, the emotional fallout and inevitably the purchase of a sidearm. In the world of genre cinema predictability is not a crime it is a requirement. The crime for a genre movie is when the predictability is too predictable and glacial in its movement. The Brave One is a beeline story about revenge plain and simple. The flat direction and pedestrian script are somewhat compensated for by exceptional acting by Foster and Terrence Howard who plays police detective Mercer. The play between Mercer and Bain as Bain moves from victim to suspect is the meat of the movie and it is also the only thing about The Brave One which maintains the viewer’s interest for any length of time. For the most part The Brave One is a slight, very slight, cut above okay as it goes over all the same ground as has been covered before adding nothing to the discourse.

Denis Bernicky

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