The Brave One (2007)
The Brave One is a powerful drama handled with care by director Neil Jordan. Fine acting by Jodie Foster and particularly Terrence Howard elevates this sometimes muddled story into a tale of real people, albeit rather extreme ones. Even if the film has its heart in the same tradition and somewhat biased angle that characterizes arch-American films ranging from Death Wish to The Kid, this is an updated version that is more interested in nuances and focuses on the emotional impact of malicious acts and the subsequent vengeance rather than the actions themselves. Jordan does well to use the violence in the film as something that makes an impact on the viewer and characters alike, rather than something that drives the film forward. The Brave One makes you think, which is a good thing, but it also makes you wonder why some people’s revenge seems to be more justified than others, and the somewhat inelegant toggling between probing deep into the metropolitan unhealthiness and celebrating the vigilante justice (“I just want me dog back”) leaves a somewhat bitter aftertaste. It's Irreversible with a little too much Harry Callahan/Paul Kersey influence. Nonetheless, a strong film.