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The Brave One (4 stars)

(18) 122min

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The Brave One

CRIME/THRILLER

There is no actor working today who portrays motivational fear better than Jodie Foster. Her performances in The Accused and The Silence of the Lambs and to a lesser extent the more recent Panic Room and Flight Plan are evidence of that. Thankfully the great writer and director Neil Jordan (Angel, Mona Lisa, The Crying Game) knows how to play to his leading lady’s strengths.

Foster plays radio host Erica Bain. Her world is thrown into turmoil when she and her fiancé (Naveen Andrews) are attacked in New York’s Central Park. He is killed. Suddenly she no longer feels safe on the streets she once called home and buys a gun for protection. Trigger happy, she sets herself up as a vigilante. Sound familiar?

What marks out The Brave One is that, like Abel Ferrara’s excellent Ms.45 Angel of Death, the sex of the vigilante matters only when highlighted by more jurisprudential ethical concerns. Foster’s superior, almost masculine performance has its roots in more archaic fare like Dimis Dadiras’ 1981 Greek classic Panic in School, which in turn took its lead from Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle. With a plot this derivative, however, a film is going to stand and fall by its performances and in partnering Foster and Terrence Howard, playing the homicide detective assigned to case, The Brave One finds it’s key strength.

Jordan who remade Melville’s Bob Le Flambeur as The Good Thief has a kin interest in character-led criminal stories and here he extends this fascination with the classic policier. The best scene in the film sees Foster and Howard chat over coffee that has echoes of Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in Heat. A superior vigilante flick.

General release from Fri 28 Sep.

The Brave One

  • 4 stars
  • 2007
  • US/Australia
  • 119 min
  • 18
  • Directed by: Neil Jordan
  • Written by: Roderick Taylor, Bruce A Taylor, Cynthia Mort
  • Cast: Jodie Foster, Naveen Andrews, Terrence Howard

Foster plays radio host Erica Bain, whose world is thrown into turmoil when she and her fiancé (Andrews) are attacked in Central Park. No longer safe on the streets of the town she lives in, Bain buys a gun to protect herself and sets herself up as a vigilante. Despite the film's familiar feel, director Jordan knows how…

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