(Review originally written at 10 December 2008)

Of course this movie gets compared a lot to the Charles Bronson movie "Death Wish" and its countless sequels. After all, it uses exactly the same premise of a main character who takes rights into his/her own hands after his/her lover gets killed. A sidewalk vigilante of which the police don't really know if it needs to be grateful or hateful towards. But yet "The Brave One" is surprisingly different from "Death Wish" and although it has the same premise it picks a totally different and more subtle approach.

The movie is of course also different because it has a female lead, rather than a tough male one. Jodie Foster, who makes about one movie every three years or so, really isn't the most likely person in a movie like this. It isn't a role you would expect from her but she simply does a good job with it and she really doesn't feel out of place within this movie. She blends in well with her character, that seems to suit her right. She of course also is a great actress and she knows to carry most part of the movie entirely alone.

It's a movie with a subtle approach, that goes deeper into things about what it means once a 'normal' person kills a person and how it changes and affects her. This is the one thing that makes "The Brave One" such a fine and interesting movie to watch. It doesn't remain just on the surface but actually starts to explore things and raises some questions.

However the movie also suffers from a problem a couple of more Neil Jordan movies suffer from as well. You don't always care enough- and feel involved enough with the main character. His movies always try to go deeper but yet they are not always that involving. Because of this its more deeper and subtle things don't always work out quite as effectively as intended. Just think about movies such as "The Company of Wolves" and "Michael Collins", though he also has had some successes with it. For instance with movies such as "The Crying Game" and "Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles". The one time it works out, the other it doesn't. In this case it doesn't really. At least not enough to really care and completely feel one with the character's actions and motivations. Neil Jordan also gets some point deduction for not so subtly ripping off the brilliant love sequence from the 1974 movie "Don't Look Now".

It's a movie with a nice gritty and raw style though, which should remind you of some '70's movies. It also uses some typical experimental '70's camera-work to achieve this. But yet it's also a movie with lots of pace, despite the fact that there aren't always a lot of exciting things happening.

Besides Jodie Foster the movie also has some other fine and well known actors starring in it, though there roles aren't all big enough to make a significant enough impression. Terrence Howard is still important and he also does a good job with his role but Mary Steenburgen and Jane Adams are just walking around in this movie. A waste of their talents really.

Good and also surprisingly original with its themes but not really involving enough to grab you or leave a true lasting impression.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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