Jodie Foster’s boyfriend, Naveen Andrews (mmm Naveen Andrews… ah, sorry), gets beaten up and killed. Foster, sick of living in fear, buys a gun. And you know all those people who harass you on the street? The guys who bully and threaten?
Yeah, she goes out and starts picking them off….
And it’s called The Brave One.
There are some delicious moments in here, of course, like when the guys on the subway bring out a knife and start threatening her with it, and she calmly pulls out her gun and blows their brains out. It had about the same appeal for me as that chick in The 300 gutting the guy who fucked her and then sold her out.
Problem is, you know, these are delicious movie moments, not ways to solve real problems, and certainly not any way to fill up the hole left in your heart when you lose someone you love, nor any way to assuage the fear you have after being menaced and/or attacked.
I had a lot of trouble with the obviousness of the plotting – Foster’s character actively wants to get caught, and does everything in her power to get caught. There are some great things they *tried* to do, like her pseudo-romance/attraction to the guy who’s investigating her case, but there were too many neat and tidy coincidences and run-ins and she was just so blatantly obvious in her murders, she wanted to get caught so badly, that even my thinly held suspension of disbelief began to flag.
I thought Foster was a great fit for this role; it reminded me a bit of her role in Silence of the Lambs – the fact that she’s such a small, seemingly physically weak woman who’s got this incredible sense of inner strength, of power, really works well here. You can see, physically, why she’s intimidated, and you can see on her face, inside, there, where all the power is when she blows your fucking head off.
But at the end of the day, the movie avoids dealing with the really tough issues that it brings up. It doesn’t deal with how you actually do overcome grief, doesn’t fully explore that incredible danger we all court when we try and become strong and brutal in order to combat those things we fear (it’s ever so easy to become the exact same thing you hate), and it doesn’t adequately explore how you go on after losing everything, how you remake yourself, whether or not you can come back from becoming a monster; how you atone.
Mostly, it just sort of ends, and all of those cheesy coincidences and convienent plot clashes were a little too annoying.
But damn, it was satisfying to watch a woman being bullied fight back.
Indeed, if nothing else, this movie was a sort of good example of *why* violence doesn’t solve or address anything, it merely opens up more holes (we should have seen more about how the loss of those people she killed tore up holes in others). It’s not an adequate solution, and one that only belongs in the movies, but I don’t mind getting that satisfying substitute on the screen so I can remind myself why, in fact, it doesn’t work that way, and why I have to work so hard to find other solutions to fear, to intimidation.
There are better solutions.