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"Why don't they stop me?" Erica Bain wonders. Bain, a popular N.Y radio host, watched her fiance die and nearly lost her own life to a vicious, random attack. Now she discovers a stranger within herself, an armed wanderer in the urban night, out for vengeance and at war with her own soul. Two-time Academy Award winner Jodie Foster, as Erica, joins Oscar nominee Terrence Howard, as a determined cop hot on her trail. Erica's future is uncertain, but one thing is not: The Brave One is a high- tension thriller that packs a visceral and emotional punch.
Director Neil Jordan (THE CRYING GAME) injects the standard revenge saga with new life by asking difficult questions about the meaning of courage in his thriller THE BRAVE ONE. Jodi Foster (THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, INSIDE MAN) showcases her knack for playing characters with a mix of strength and vulnerability, while Terrence Howard's tender charisma comes through IN Mercer, the cop who knows more than he's letting on. Foster plays New Yorker Erica Bain, a radio talk show host happily engaged to a doctor (Naveen Andrews, LOST). The walls of Erica's safe existence come tumbling down one night during a walk through Central Park with her boyfriend, during which they are mugged, he is killed, and she is severely beaten. When she wakes from a coma three weeks later, Erica's eyes assume a haunted look and she fears the city she once loved. So she buys a gun, and when she witnesses a domestic fight and murder in an all-night convenience store, she uses it to save herself. This first murder opens the door to others, as Erica takes to the streets at night, baiting criminals and extracting her revenge. Her vigilante actions become sensationalized in the media, while her talk show becomes a platform from which to explore her new feelings about New York, the "safest big city in the world." Detective Mercer, who was assigned to Erica's original case, begins to put the pieces together as the bond between the two grows stronger. THE BRAVE ONE is a gritty, engaging, and well-crafted thriller that relies on strongly developed characters, rather than action and violence, to carry a story that makes no easy assumptions about the definitions of good and evil.
"Terrence Howard is excellent as a savvy policeman fascinated by Foster. The film is at its best when the two are matching wits and baring souls." 09/14/2007 p.5E
"[A] disturbing, intense, and unexpectedly timely Gotham City art thriller. Foster brings her fierce spin on the lone woman-in-jeopardy character, Jordan his mastery of psychologically tumultuous film tropes." 09/01/2007 p.70
3 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he film is all about Foster. You can feel her bend every sinew and synapse into creating a fully dimensional character." 10/01/2007 p.43
4 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t's given real intensity by Foster's gravitas, director Neil Jordan's competence, Terrence Howard's presence and a script revelling in misery." 03/01/2008 123
4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he streets of New York contort from idyllic Sesame Streets into a maze of dark alleys and watchful eyes, inking the plot with an equally dark tone." 05/01/2008 p.82
Golden Globe, Jodie Foster, Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
Like Death Sentence, The Brave One['s] plot engages when good people make the mistake of crossing into a land where rules of civilized behavior do not apply. Bacon stopped at a gas station in a bad neighborhood; Erica's doctor fiance David (Lost's Naveen Andrews) distractedly throws a ball into a park's lonely tunnel for his dog. When he and Erica step inside to discover what has become of the animal, a group of louts step from the shadows and beat and rob the couple. She awakens from a coma days later to a radically changed world...In The Brave One, Foster is almost an anonymous woman, since the screenplay does a poor job of defining Erica as a character before the attack. She hosts a radio show, she has a younger fiance, she loves New York, and orange and cream are the colors she chooses for her wedding invitations. She never comes fully to life, which makes it hard to care what happens to her before or after the attack...Jordan's direction is competent, but for the man who made The Crying Game, The Butcher Boy, The Good Thief, and Breakfast on Pluto, one guesses this slick, decidedly mainstream project is little more than a paycheck. Unfortunately, it shows. The minutes pass quickly enough in watching The Brave One, but it is a waste of time.
Foster is such a good actress in thrillers: natural, unaffected, threatened, plucky, looking like she means it. And Neil Jordan's "The Brave One" gives her someone strong to play against. Terrence Howard and Foster are perfectly modulated in the kinds of scenes difficult for actors to play, where they both know more than they're saying, and they both know it...Neil Jordan, the director ("The Crying Game," "Michael Collins," "Breakfast on Pluto," "Mona Lisa," "The Good Thief") often makes movies about characters who are not who they seem, and about those who wonder if they can trust them. His characters are not deliberately deceptive, but have been pushed into their roles by their lives and don't see a way out. Often you sense in them a desperate urge to confess...That kind of psychological suspense is what makes "The Brave One" spellbinding. The movie doesn't dine out on action scenes, but regards with great curiosity how these two people will end up. The movie's conclusion has a slight aroma of a studio rewrite; I'm not saying Jordan and his writers did revise it, but that the strict logic of the story should lead in a different direction. Where did Hollywood get the conviction that audiences demand an ending that lets them off the hook? Foster doesn't let herself off the hook in "The Brave One," and we should be as brave as she is.
DVD, Hybrid, No Longer Produced
Glenn Kenny, Premiere
An intense New York-set thriller that manages to be both commercial and contemplative, kick-ass and quietly, disturbingly insinuating.
James Berardinelli's ReelViews
Not since "The Crying Game" has Jordan crafted as compelling a motion picture.
Karen Durbin, Elle Magazine
An electrifying thriller.
Pete Hammond, Maxim
...Foster commands the screen and delivers one of her finest performances, one that should again put her front and center at the Academy Awards.