More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 10%
Worth A Look35%
Average: 22.5%
Pretty Bad: 18.75%
Total Crap: 13.75%

8 reviews, 32 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Black Christmas (2019) by Peter Sobczynski

Richard Jewell by Peter Sobczynski

Dachra by Jay Seaver

Little Joe (2019) by Jay Seaver

Knives and Skin by Jay Seaver

Rabid (2019) by Rob Gonsalves

Irishman, The by Rob Gonsalves

Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project by Rob Gonsalves

Kitchen, The (2019) by Rob Gonsalves

Whistleblower, The (2019) by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

Brave One, The
[] Buy posters from this movie
by brianorndorf

"It seems breaking the law is all the rage"
3 stars

Last month, audiences were gifted a laughable little pustule entitled “Death Sentence,” which effectively made light of human loss and turned rage into a bargain-bin video game. “The Brave One” is a similar story of vigilantism, yet originates from a distinctly higher pedigree of filmmaking talent. Let me put it this way: one director made “Saw” and the other is responsible for “The Crying Game.” You do the math.

Erica (Jodie Foster) is a radio show host reeling from the murder of her fiancée by a pack of vicious thugs during a romantic Central Park night. Unable to process the tragedy, Erica mummifies her emotions, buys a gun, and looks to escape her horror through isolation. However, the outside world won’t permit that, and when violent crimes are committed right in front of her, she puts an end to it with her own brand of justice. On the case is Detective Mercer (Terrence Howard), who unknowingly befriends Erica while trying to piece together the clues of her crimes.

Now, proclaiming “Brave One” to be superior to “Death Sentence” isn’t much of an opinion gamble, but it is of interest to see what a stronger filmmaker can do with the same working parts. Director Neil Jordan is far more curious about the emotional ramifications of Erica’s killing spree, positioning her as an evocative raw nerve figure who is constantly at sweaty war with her conscience and trigger-finger impulses. Where “Death Sentence” took a melodramatic low road imagining the personal toll of vengeance, “Brave One,” at the very least, makes a pass to seem conflicted by the argument for street justice.

Through Jodie Foster’s expectedly layered portrayal of throbbing hurt, “Brave One” has a soul worth following in the New York jungle; the actress latches right on to Erica’s nightmare from the first moments of impact. Foster’s portrayal is one of tight-lipped observation: Erica silently cramming her troubles deep within, making sure not to spill a drop of her anguish. The performance grows increasingly complicated with the introduction of friendship between Erica and Mercer, which gives Foster wonderful character dimension as the bitter vigilante juggling her ache for human contact with her need for gun-fueled expression. Foster and Howard are an incredible team of actors, and luckily Jordan knows exactly what he has with these two top-shelf talents.

While Jordan has a great sense of Erica’s guilt and loss of humanity, he has a thorny time trying to massage a suitable end game for the story. There’s plenty of breathing room allowed during Erica’s equalizing rampage to keep “Brave One” away from a cheap revenge sentiment, though that line is a blurry one. Through Foster, Erica’s killing is met with disbelief and shame, yet the film seems to endorse her actions more and more as it nears an unfortunately ludicrous finale. Perhaps Erica shouldn’t pay for her crimes in the classic “Law & Order” sense, but the film is arranged in such a way to suggest the character will be forever tortured, powerless to sate her need for closure for as long as she lives. The movie ends on a more dispiriting note, lustful for audience approval in brainless ways, ultimately ignoring the fractured reality the rest of the film desires so much.

“Brave One” isn’t “Death Wish,” but there are moments where I could see Jordan giving in to that impulse. What should’ve been a more ambiguous portrayal of violent desperation is perhaps too underlined by the finale, but Jordan gets enough of the film’s critical fragility right to keep the film somewhere in the arena of a recommend.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 09/14/07 16:42:21
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Toronto International Film Festival For more in the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

3/09/19 Anne not credible and very boring- no excuse for her crimes 1 stars
9/22/17 morris campbell jodies got a gun not bad 4 stars
11/11/13 Monday Morning Hey Jody, show us your dick. 3 stars
10/12/09 Jeff Wilder Way more intelligence here than in most revenge films. 4 stars
4/05/09 Monday Morning I love happy endings - dogs live and slimebags die. 4 stars
9/08/08 Carol Durbin Not her best flick, kinda disappointing. 3 stars
8/15/08 Melissa Great movie. Makes you watch your back when you are at night. Foster is one tough lady! 5 stars
8/11/08 mr.mike Initially avoids unconvincing detours , then drives head-on into them. 3 stars
7/06/08 Ron Patterson Fantastic movie, great suspense all the way. Great ending! 5 stars
6/22/08 TAB Loved the Movie 5 stars
3/19/08 Leah Jodie is Great at everything she does 4 stars
3/02/08 Nanci Torres I love all her movies, great acting 5 stars
2/11/08 Matt Nothing new here, but Foster alone makes it memorable. Vaguely disappointing 3 stars
2/06/08 action movie fan very good death wish themed woman gets even after mugging-ambiguous and thoughtful 4 stars
12/13/07 William Goss Foster rises above mopey, morally muddled, and just unoriginal vigilante drama. 3 stars
11/16/07 anitamich I thought this movie was top notch! Not for the squeamish. Keeps your mind occupied. 5 stars
10/27/07 tracey chambers long, boring and I didnt care one way or another about her. 2 stars
9/28/07 Paul kersey Wait!! your stealing my movie 1 stars
9/27/07 The dude This movie is horrible i dont kno y anyone of u would like this rip off of death wish 1 stars
9/25/07 Ole Man Bourbon Well-made, compelling at times, but kinda silly 4 stars
9/25/07 wizred Good acting, descent directing, terrible script 2 stars
9/19/07 HarryCallahan Feminist Propaganda wankfest. 1 stars
9/18/07 texas I was underwhelmed by the plot (unbelievable) and was never suspended in disbelief. 3 stars
9/17/07 Hoosierchick The ending is a cheat but TH and JF interaction is great 4 stars
9/17/07 Private Its themes don't linger as they should but Foster is terrific. 4 stars
9/16/07 rebirthgil A felt that The Brave One was a unique action thriller, and it was also a provocative one. 4 stars
9/16/07 bullit16 I love Jodie Foster, but this was just not good 2 stars
9/15/07 Jason R It was really good. The acting was great and I really enjoyed it. 5 stars
9/15/07 Dark Enchantress amazing movie! The critics never appreciate good movies! 5 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  14-Sep-2007 (R)
  DVD: 05-Feb-2008



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast