The Brave One
starring Jodie Foster, Terrence Howard, Nicky Katt, Naveen Andrews and Mary Steenburgen
screenplay by Roderick Taylor, Bruce A. Taylor and Cynthia Mort
directed by Neil Jordan
What a dorky title for a movie. Couldn’t they have come up with a better one, like “The Vigilante?” Well, that one is probably already used. I don’t deny that Jodie Foster is a great actress. But I don’t like her. I don’t like her voice and her nose and her eyes. And my dislike is bred from a long history of seeing her, starting with the Disney Sunday Night at the Movies family films of the 1960s. In The Brave One Foster plays a New York radio talk show host who survives a gruesome beating by muggers in Central Park. Her fiancée is beaten to death and her dog stolen in the attack. After leaving the hospital she buys a pistol and becomes an avenger, eventually hunting down and killing her attackers, but not initially devoted to that task.
She quickly learns that she has a knack for killing bad guys. Her hands don’t shake and she quickly becomes adept with her weapon. Terrence Howard plays the police detective who is hunting the vigilante killer. He develops into a substitute love interest for Foster’s character.
There is nothing remarkable about the story here. The acting is only adequate to the task, and maybe even not that, because I do not like the breathless and weazy delivery of both Foster and Howard. It’s a strange thing. Why does she speak like that? Is it only in this film, or do all of her lines in every film sound like she is gasping for breath? And Terrence Howard sounds like he is gasping, too, which made it really annoying listening to the two of them gasp. I think this weazy gasping was a device to ccentuate the deep human struggles the characters were wrestling with. Please stop it! We all have troubles. I have troubles too, but I don’t go around gasping and weazing about them to demonstrate their profundity.
The title does not refer to the courage of this survivor to (illegally) hunt her attackers. It refers to her own
courage to liveon after her near-fatal and life-changing trauma. Trés bizarre á la Americain.