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Brandon Judell

The Brave One: Or Why The Nice Vigilante Shot Up the Big Apple

"The Brave One" -- Jodie Foster and Mary Steenburgen.

Review of "The Brave One"
Director: Neil Jordan
Cast: Jodie Foster, Terrence Howard, Naveen Andrews, Nicky Katt, Mary Steenburgen.

For anyone trying to take The Golden Globe Awards seriously, the nomination of Jodie Foster as "Best Actress in a Motion Picture-Drama" for "The Brave One" is surely the final nail in the coffin of this overblown event. "Unintentional Comedy" we possibly could have handled.

In this dreary, cockamamie Valentine to New York City haters, concocted by the father/son team of Roderick and Bruce A. Taylor --a good argument for the government sterilization of a certain family's genes--radio personality Erica Bain (Foster) is confronting a bad day.

Besides having to host a show where she drones on like a Sylvia Plath wannabe on Valium, Bain's dog gets kidnapped and her fiancée is fatally pulverized in Central Park by some punks. And this is after Kain's paid for the invitations to the wedding that's never going to happen.

Poor Kain is also abused at the time, both physically and mentally. So much so, that after she heals epidermically and after she fantasizes about making love with her dearly beloved, she goes out and buys a gun for $1000 from a shifty Chinese-American.

She does so just in time because shortly thereafter, Kain is in a neighborhood grocery store when a cashier is shot dead by her husband. Just then our heroine's cell phone goes off revealing her presence. So what happens? Kain pumps the murderer full of lead to save her own skin.

Ah, the taste of blood! The satisfaction of revenge! Well, not exactly. Kain is so traumatized she has to shower fully dressed.

From then on, it seems our intrepid gal can't seem to traipse half a block without getting involved with some perverts in need of a bullet in the head. Consequently, Kain starts offing vicious black hoods in the subway, upper echelon white wife-killers, and nasty johns.

Truthfully, by this time, Kain's getting into the slaying an iota. Besides the satisfaction of feeling like Batman, a bonus incentive is that the adorable NYPD detective Sean Mercer (Terrence Howard) is investigating the vigilante killings and he's flirting with her.

Well, will Mercer capture the damsel he's hot for and incarcerate her for life? If he does, please send director Neil Jordan along for a short stay. The man who's given us such pearls as "The Crying Game" and "The Company of Wolves" has once too often supplied theaters with such swine as "High Spirits" and "We're No Angels." We need some time to recoup ours senses.

As for Foster's performance, she's always fascinating to watch, even when she's one note and stiff with one facial expression as she is here. She does, though, get to shake a lot and run, and there is one moment when Kain does seem human here. The vigilante viper is in the back of a car, and a john wants her to kiss a young female prostitute being held again her will. Yes, while Kain's character is faking it, Foster seems real. Suddenly, there's some emotional connection onscreen between two characters. But maybe that's just projection on my part.

Nevertheless, it can be argued that Ms. Foster has made a career out of playing victims ("Taxi Driver"; "The Accused"; "Panic Room"; "The Hotel New Hampshire") much like her best pal Mel Gibson relishes parts in which he is tortured or his cast gets crucified.

Is there a psychological reason for her choice of roles, especially those in Grade B movies?

According to a CNN report this week, Ms. Foster partially or totally came out as a lesbian, a rumor taken as truth for decades within the gay community.

No doubt having to choose between her career and being open about her sexuality for decades certainly are grounds for feeling diddled out of one's God-given freedoms. Was this the silence of a lamb?

Whatever your verdict on Jodie, check out Cristian Mungiu's "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" for the best female acting of the year. It's an abortion that Anamaria Marinca has been overlooked.


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