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The Brave One

When films deal with sensitive subjects and debatable topics, you would assume the filmmakers behind it would have a specific standpoint to deliver their material upon. Of the recent ideas showcased in Warner Bros.’ newest film, “The Brave One”, there is a plethora of subjects to choose from. Debatable moral topics, mostly pertaining to violence, range from revenge and gun control to vigilantism. Out of these and a few others, skilled craftsmanship and solid performances failed to reveal any instance of a firm standpoint on a single topic.

The story of “The Brave One” follows Erica Bain (Jodie Foster), a radio voice for New York who has fallen in love with the city. After a night of mere happenstance, Erica is left beaten in a city park while her fiance, also beaten, lay next to her, dead. As a survivor of this terrible street crime, Erica is forced back into the world she once loved with much disdain. Tapping into the roots of a revenge tale, the film digests painfully through a theme that the filmmakers seem hesitant on how to present.

As a semi-revenge tale sprinkled with themes of vigilantism, “The Brave One” shifts from glorifying Erica’s choice to take the law into her own hands, to debating the moral undertones of her actions. Here, there isn’t even a basis for Foster’s character to be taking such an angled approach, since the filmmakers can’t decide if it is right or wrong. This becomes much more apparent when the climax of the film is centered upon out-of-character actions that do nothing but contradict any foreseen messages that the film might seem to be relaying.

Any great vigilante film, like “The Boondock Saints” or “Batman Begins,” works well because it evokes a discussion and takes a bold standpoint. When “The Brave One” ends, you’ll spend more time trying to figure out why it ended the way it did than remembering what it was about or could have been trying to tell us. Even that is only worth about two seconds of your time. If you do, however, choose to look at what it could be saying about its debatable theme, “The Brave One” really isn’t that brave at all.

One and a half stars out of four.

“The Brave One” is rated R for strong violence, language and some sexuality.

Runtime: 2 hours

Directed by: Neil Jordan and stars Jodie Foster and Terrence Howard.

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