The Brave One – 1 1/2 Buckets
Talk about a cinematic paradox. Neil Jordan, writer/director of The Brave One, seems to believe that his implementation of story-contrivances provides the film a much-needed source of dramatic tension. The problem with his theory: said contrivances come across as so far-reaching and so gawky within the context of the plot that, before they can create any sort of nail-biting atmosphere for audiences, they instead provoke unrelenting laughter. Jordan expects viewers to believe that Jodie Foster’s Violent Wonder Woman of a protagonist is beaten to the point of comatose as her fiancé is brutally slain in Central Park, confronted by a killer after she witnesses a crime of passion take place in a convenience store, and nearly knifed on the Subway – all within the period of about a month. The result of this false expectation is absolutely ridiculous; even if Jordan saw a need develop a sense of background behind the vigilantism Foster’s character decides to take up in order to avenge her fiancé’s death, he didn’t have to do so in such a morbidly hokey fashion. In fact, the necessary suspension of belief required of viewers in order for them to become absorbed by the film will totally distract them from the brilliance of juiciest, most natural meat of the story: the biting cat-and-mouse dialogue between Foster’s newfound moral-murderer and Terrence Howard’s bottled-up detective. Not to mention, everything one could hate about The Brave One is amplified one-hundred fold by the eye-roller of an ending, in which the two main characters end up abandoning the personalities they’ve worked the entire running-length to develop, simply for the sake of conveniently tying up any loose plot-ends.
* * *
The Brave One (2007, USA). Produced by Aaron Auch, Bruce Berman, Susan Downey, Jodie Foster, Herb Gains, David Gambino, Dana Goldberg, Joel Silver. Directed by Neil Jodan. Written for the screen by Roderick Taylor, Bruce A. Taylor, and Cynthia Mort. Story by Roderick Taylor and Bruce A. Taylor. Starring Jodie Foster, Terrence Howard, Nicky Katt, Naveen Andrews, Mary Steenburgen, and Ene Oloja. Distributed by Warner Bros. Rated R, with a running time of 122 minutes.