Foster falls down in vigilante flick

The Brave One; Starring: Jodie Foster, Terrence Howard, Naveen Andrews, Nicky Katt, Mary Steenburgen; Dir: Neil Jordan; Cert: 18; 2hr 02mThere are certain actors and certain directors that engender an innate sense of trust in their audience.

By Andrew Clarke

The Brave One; Starring: Jodie Foster, Terrence Howard, Naveen Andrews, Nicky Katt, Mary Steenburgen; Dir: Neil Jordan; Cert: 18; 2hr 02m

There are certain actors and certain directors that engender an innate sense of trust in their audience. For me Jodie Foster and Neil Jordan are two of those individuals. In two long careers neither actor nor director have ever let me down.

Both have made films that haven't quite worked but I have always appreciated the ideas behind misfires such as Flight plan (Foster) and Michael Collins (Jordan) but they have never made what I could describe as a bad film… until now.


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It pains me to say it but Jordan and Foster have conspired to come together to make the worst film of their respective careers. What possessed either of them to make this film is anyone's guess - particularly when both have enviable reputations for being extremely choosey when it comes to committing to films.

It is difficult to see what either of them saw in this clichéd and at times incredible tale of vigilante terrorism on the streets of New York.

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Jodie Foster plays Erica Bain, a talk-radio host in New York, who walks the streets of the city, telling evocative tales about the historic buildings and the busy sidewalks. She is also about to get married to charismatic surgeon Naveen Andrews but their happiness is destroyed when they are set upon by a street gang in Central Park.

Erica's fiancé never recovers consciousness and frustrated by the police department's lack of progress or apparent concern Erica decides to buy a gun and take the matter into her own hands.

For all the microphone monologues and the soul searching that Jordan affords Foster, The Brave One is still an outrageously unbelievable vigilante movie no better than Michael Winner's Death Wish movies from the 1970s.

I would have hoped that Foster and Jordan could have re-invented the genre but sadly this was not to be. The film lurches from the intriguing to the absurd within 15 minutes when Foster witnesses a convenience store robbery and then an attack on an underground train. Her reactions and the way the scenes are staged are just too extreme to give the film any creditability at all.

Jodie Foster tries to lend Erica Bain as much dignity as she can muster - her monologues are wonderfully delivered as you would expect - but she is essentially playing a cipher for the story and is not allowed any real room to manoeuvre.

The same is true for Terrence Howard's sympathetic detective. You never get the impression that he is playing a character who has a life when he's not on screen and the ending is simply ludicrous.

The action sequences are loud, brutal and seem to have more to do with creating a scene with lots of flashes and bangs and less to do with constructing a scenario that has anything to do with the real world. It's a film which purports to be concerned with contemporary society yet never seems anchored in any kind of reality.

The Brave One was the perfect opportunity for a realistic exploration of the US justice system but instead we get a hackneyed vigilante movie unworthy of the cast and the director.

**

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